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A. J. HoLMAN Company 

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Copyright, 1915, by 
A. J. HoLUAN Company 










Inikoddction (C. H. Jacobs) 1$ 

Tbamblaiton (C, M, Jacobs) as 


iNTKODiJcnoN (H, E. Jacobs) 51 

Tkansution (C. M. Jacobs) 56 


Iins<»»ucnoN (H. E. Jacobs) 75 

TRANSLATION (C. M. Jacobs) Si 


Intsoduciion (A. T. W. Steinhakhsek) 105 

Translation (A, T. W. SrEiNHAROstK) 109 

- ''treatise ON GOOD WORKS (ijM) 173 \ 

ImsoDucnoN (M. Rxu) 175 

TsANSiAnoN (W. A. Lauext) 184 

treatise ON THE NEW TESTAMENT (ism) 387 

Intk<M)UCT10N (J. L. Nbvk) 389 

Translation (J. J. Schintol) 194 

THE PAPACY AT ROME (isro) 3*7 


Translation (A. Srtnax) 337 

■ INDEX (W. A. Lahbkxt) 395 

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No historical study of cuirent issues-^ politics or social 
science .or theology — can far proceed without bringing the 
student face to face with the principles asserted by the 
Refonnatiou of the Sixteenth Century and its great leader, 
Martin Luther. He has had many critics and many cham- 
pions, but neither his critics nor his champions feel that 
the last word concemir^ him has been spoken, for scarcely 
a year passes that does not witness the publication of a 
new biography. 

Had Luther been nothing more than a man of his own 
time and his own nation the task of estimating him would 
long since have been ccmipleted. A few exhaustive treat- 
ises would have answered all demands. But the Catalogue 
of the British Museum, published in 1894, contains over 
two hundred folio pj^es, averaging about thirty-five titles 
to the page, of books and pamphlets written either by or 
about him, that have been gathered into this single collec- 
tion, in a land foreign to the sphere of his labors, and this 
list has been greatly augmented mux 1894. Above all 
other historical characters that have appeared since the 
first years of Christianity, he is a man of the present day 
no less than of the day in which he lived. 

But Luther can be properly known and estimated only 
when he is allowed to speak for himself. He should be 
seen not throu^ the eyes of others, but through our own. 
In order to judge the man we must know all ddes of the 
man, and tead the heaviest as well as the lightest of his 
works, the more scientific and theological as well as the 
more practical and popular, his informal letters as w^ 
as his formal treatises. We mast take account of the 
time of each writing and the circumstances under which 

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t1 Introdnctimi 

it was composed, of the adversaries against whom he was 
contending, and of the progress which he made in his 
opinions as time went on. The great hmd of primary 
sources which the historical methods of the last generation 
have made available should also be laid under contribution 
to shed light upon his statements and his attitude toward 
the various questions involved in his life-struggles. 

As long as a writer can be read only in the language or 
languages in which he wrote, this necessary closer contact 
with his personality can be enjoyed only by a very limited 
drcle of advanced scholars. But many of these will be 
grateful for a translation into their vernacular for more 
rapid reading, from which they may turn to the stand- 
ard text when a question of more minute criticism is at 
stake. Even advanced students appreciate accurately 
rendered and scholarly annotated translations, by which 
the range of the leaders of human thought, with whom 
it is possible for them to be occupied, may be greatly 
enlarged. Such series of translations as those conq)rised 
in the well-edited Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Niceoe 
Libraries of the Fathers have served a most excellent 

In the series introduced by this voliame the attempt is 
made to render a similar service with req)ect to Luther. 
This is no ambitious project to reproduce in English all 
that he wrote or that fell from his lips in the lecture-room 
or in the pulpit. The plan has been to furnish within the 
space of ten volumes a selection of such treatises as are 
either of most permanent value, or supply the best means 
for obtaining a true view of his many-sided literary activity 
and the sources of his abiding influence. The aim is not to 
popularize the writer, but to make the English, as far as 
possible, a faithful reproduction of the German or Latin. 
The work has been done by a small group of scholarly 
Lutheran pastors, reuding near each other, and Jointly 
preparing the copy for the printer. The first draft of each 
translation was tiiorougbly discussed and revised in a jdnt 

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LitroductiOD Til 

conference of the translators before final approval. Rq)re- 
sentatlve scholars, who have ^ven more or less special 
study to Luther, have been called in to prepare some of 
the mtroductions. While the part contributed by each 
individual is credited at the proper place, it must yet be 
added that my former colleague, the late Rev. Prof. 
Adolph Spaeth, D.D., LX.D. (died June 25, 1910), was 
actively engaged as the Chairman of the Committee that 
organized the work, determined the plan, and, with the 
imdersigned, made the first selection of the material to be 

The other members of the Committee are the Rev. 
T. E. Schmauk, D.D., LL.D., the Rev. L. D. Reed, D.D., 
the Rev. W. A. Lambert, J. J. Schindel, A. Steimle, A. T. 
W. Steinhaeuser, and C. M. Jacobs, D.D.; upon the five 
last named the burden of preparing the translations and 
notes has rested. 

Their work has been laborious and difficult. Luther's 
complfiints concemii^ the seriousness of his task in at- 
tempting to teach the patriarch Job to speak idiomatic 
German mi^t doubtless have found an echo in the 
experience of this corps of scholars in forcing Luther into 
idiomatic English. We are confident, however, that, as 
in Luther's case, so also here, the general verdict of readers 
will be that they have been eminently successful. It 
should also be known that it has be^ purely a labor 
of love, performed in the midst of the exacting duties of 
large pastorates, and to serve the Church, to whose min- 
istry they have consecrated their lives. 

The approaching jubilee of the Reformation in 1917 will 
call renewed attention to the author of these treatises. 
These volumes have been prepared with e^wdal refer- 
ence to the discussions which, we have every reason to 
believe, will then occur. 

Henky EiFSTEK Jacobs. 

LuTSEKAN Theological Seunaky, 
Ht. Antv, PaiumiPiiu. 

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The languages from which the following translations 
have been made are the Latin and the German, — the Latin 
of the German Universities, the German of the people, and 
both distinctively Luther's. In the Latin there is added 
to the imperfection of the form, when measured by classic 
cal standards, the difficulty of expressing in an old lan- 
guage the new thoughts of the Reformation. German 
was regarded even by Gibbon, two hundred and fifty 
years later, as a barbarous idiom. Luther, espedaliy 
in his earlier writings, struggled to give form to a lan- 
guage and to express the highest thoughts in it. Where 
Luther thus struggled with two languages, it is evident 
that they have no easy task who attempt to reproduce 
the two in a third. 

Modem Germans find it convenient to read Luther's 
German in a modernized text, sometimes rather hastily and 
uncritically constructed, and altogether unsafe as a basis 
for translation. Where the Germans have had to modify, 
a translator meets double difficulties. It may be puzzling 
for him to know Luther's exact meaning; it is even more 
puzzling to find the exact English equivalent. 

In order to overonne these difficulties, in part at least, 
and present a translation both accurate and readable, the 
present group of translators have not simply distributed 
the work among themselves, but have together revised 
each translation as it was made. The original trans- 
lator, at a meeting of the group, has submitted his work 
to the rest for criridsm and correction, amoimting at 
times to retranslation. No doubtful point, whether in 
sense or in sound, has been passed by unchallenged. 
1 tlx) 

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X TnuulatorB* Note 

Even with such care, the translation is not perfect. 
In places a variant reading is possible, a variant inter- 
pretation plausible. We can only claim tbat an hcmest 
effort has been made to be both accurate and clear, and 
submit the result of our labors to a fair and scholarly 
criticism. Critics can hardly be more severe than we 
have been to one another. If they find errors, it may be 
that we have seen them, and preferred the seeming error 
to the suggested correction; if not, we can accept criticism 
from others as gracefully as from each other. 

The sources from which our translations have been 
made are the best texts available in each case. In gen- 
eral, these are found in the Weimar Edition (D . 
Martin Luthers Werke. Kritische Ge- 
sammtausgabe. Weimar. Hermann Bohlaus 
Nachfolger, 1883 £f.), so far as this is completed. A 
more complete and fairly satisfactory edition is that 
known as the Erlangen Edition, in which the 
German and Latin works are published in separate 
series, i826ff. The text of the Berlin Edition 
(Luthers Werke, herausgegeben von 
Pfarrer D. Dr. BncHWAiD, etc., Berlin, C. A. 
Schwetscbke usd Sohn, third edition, 1905, ten vol- 
umes) is modemized, and where it has been used it 
has been carefully compared with the more critical 
texts. The two «iitions of Waich — the original, pub- 
lished 1740-1753, in twenty-four volumes, at Halle, and 
the modem edition, known as the St. Louis, Mo., 
edition, 1880 ff. — are aitirely German, and somewhat 
modemized. For our purpose they could be used only 
as helps in the interpretation, and not as standard texts 
for translation. A very convenient and satisfactory 
critical text of selected treatises is to be found in 
Otto Clemen, Luthers Werke in Auswahl, 
Bonn, 4 vols., of which two voliunes appeared in 1912. 

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I5» MO 1545 

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EDITION OF IS39 '•.■^- 

I WOULD ^adly have seen all my books forgotten and 
destroyed; if only for the reason that I am afraid of tl» 
example.* For I see what benefit it has brought to the 
churches, that men have begun to collect many books 
and great libraries, outside and alongside of the Holy 
Scriptures; and have begun especially to scramble to- 
gether, without any distinction, all sorts of "Fathers," 
"Councils," and "Doctors." Not only has good time 
been wasted, and the study of the Scriptures neglected; 
but the pure understanding of the divine Word is lost, 
imtfl at last the Bible has come to lie forgotten in the 
dust under the boich. 

Although it is both useful and necessary that the writ- 
ings of some of the Fathers and the decrees of some of 
the Coundla should be preserved as witnesses and records, 
nevertheless, I think, est modus in rebus,* and it 
is no pity that the books of many of the Fathers and 
Councils have, by God's grace, been lost. If they had all 
remained, one could scarce go in or out for books, and we 
should still have nothing better than we find in the H<^ 

Then, too, it was our intention and our h<^, when we 
began to put the Bible into German, that there would be 

■ Tsrt u ^ven in the Berlin Edition of Buchmld ud ottel, Vol. I, pp. !■ ■. 
*L e. The etuiple mn by ixm rrim ud coOcctiai tbem. 
* "rbo* b nMdentiiia in aO tlunfi." 

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8 Lndier*B Pittfaces 

less writing, and more studying -aod reading of the Scrip- 
tures. For all other writings -shouid point to the Scr^ 
John sao tures, as John pointed to Christ; when he said, "He must 
increase, but I must decttase." In this way every one 
may drink for himseh' Irtim the fresh ^ring, as all the 
Fathers have had to -do when they wished to produce * 
anything worlA . wiiile. Neither Fathers nor Councils 
nor we ourselves will do so well, even when our very best 
is done, as t^ Holy Scriptures have done; that is to say, 
we difiJi never do so well as God Himself. Ev^ though 
tilJ QJii salvation we need to have the Holy Spirit and faith 
-/■aa<J divine language and divine works, nevertheless we 
■'•, must let the Prophets and Apostles sit at the desk, while 
we sit at their feet and listen to what they say. It is not 
for us to say what they must hear. 

Since, however, I cannot prevent it, and, without my 
wish, they are now bent on collecting and printing my 
books — small honor to me — I shall have to let them put 
their energy and labor on the venture. I comfort myself 
with the thou^t that my books will yet he forgotten in 
the dust, especially when, by God's grace, I have written 
I Kiogi something good. Non ero melior patribus 
''^ m e i s .' The other kind will be more likely to endure. 
For when the Bible can be left lying under the bench, and 
when it is true of the Fathers and Councils that the better 
they were, the more completely they have been forgotten; 
there is good hope that, when the curiosity of this age 
has been satisfied, my books too will not long remain; the 
more so, since it has begun to rain and snow books and 
"Doctors," of which many are already forgotten and gone 
to dust, so that one no longer remembers even their names. 
They themselves had hoped, to be sure, that they would 
always be in the market, and play schoolmaster to the 

Well, then, let it go, in God's Name. I only ask in all 
kindness that the man who wishes at this time to have 

' "I lIwU not be better thm my fuben." CI. i Elnsi t«:4. 

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To Fint Pirt (tf His Gerouui Worki 9 

my books will by no means let them be a hindrance to his 
own study of the Scriptures, but read them as I read the 
orders and the ordures of the pope* and the books of the 
sophists. I look now and then to see what they have done, 
or learn from them the history and thought of their time, 
but I do not study them, or feel myself bound to conform 
to them. I do not treat the FaUiers and the Councils 
very differently. In this I follow tlie example of St. 
Augustine, who is one of the first, and ahnost the only 
one of them to subject himself to the Holy Scriptures 
alone, uninfluenced by the books of all the Fathers and 
the Saints. This brought him into a hard fray with St. 
Jerome, who cast up to him the writings of his predeces- 
sors; but he did not care for that. If this example of St. 
Augustine had been followed, the pope would not have 
become Antichrist, the countless vermin, the swarming, 
parasiUc mass of books would not have come into the 
Church, and the Bible would have kept its place in the 

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Above all things I beseech the Christian readn and b^ 
him for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to read my 
earliest books very circumspectly and with much [Hty, 
knowing that before now I too was a monk, and one of 
the right frantic and raving papists. When I took up 
this matter against Indulgences, I was so full and drunken, 
yea, so besotted in papal doctrine that, out of my great 
zeal, I would have been ready to do murder — at least, I 
would have been glad to see and help that murder should 
be done — on all who would not be obedient and subject 
to the pope, even to his smallest w(»d. 

Such a Saul was I at that time; and I meant it r^t 
earnestly; and there are still many such to^ay. In a 
word, I was not such a frozen and ice-cold* champion of 
the papacy as Eck and others of his kind have been and 
still are. They defend the Roman See more for the sake 
of the shameful belly, which is their god, than because 
they are really attached to its cause. Indeed I am wholly 
of the opinion that like latter-day Epicureans,* they only 
laugh at the pope. But I verily espoused this cause in 
deepest earnest and in all fideUty; the more so because I 
shrank from the Last Day with great anxiety and fear and 
terror, and yet from the depths of my heart desired to be 

Therefore, Christian reader, thou wilt find in my earliest 

> From the Prefttt to tlie Complete WoAi (i$4i). Text KtonUoc to tlw 
Berlin Edition of Buchmld and othen, VdL I, pp. xi 3. 

■ Evidently ■ [day on tlie Latin f T f g f d u b , often naed [a the wdk of "trivU" 
«c"tilly"; N Luther refen to the "fti Rid ■ decreta Papa rum," in hb 
pRqiodtiaiu foe the Leiprig Di^ntation (ijip). 

* i. c. Ftivolout mocken at bo^ thJogs. 

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To flu ChilBtiui Reader ii 

books and writings how many points of faith I thm, with 
all humility, yielded and conceded to the pope, ndudi 
ance then I have held and condemned for the most hor- 
rible blasphemy and abomination, and which I woiUd have 
to be so held and so condemned foiever. Amen. 

Thou wilt therefore ascribe this my error, or as my 
opponents venomously call it, this inconsistent of mine,* 
to the time, and to my ignorance and ine:q>erienra. At 
the beginning I was quite alone and without any helpers, 
and moreover, to tell the truth, unskilled in all these 
things, and far too unlearned to discuss such high and 
weighty matters. For it was without any intention, 
purpose, or will of mine that I fell, quite une^>ectedly, 
into this wran^ing and contention. This I take God, the 
Searcho' of hearts, to witness. 

I tell these things to the end that, if thou shalt read my 
books, thou mayest know and remember that I am one of 
those who, as St. Augustine says of himself, have grown by 
writing and by teaching others, and not one of those who, 
starting with nothing, have in a trice become the most 
exalted and most learned doctors. We find, alas! many 
of these self-grown doctors; who in truth are nothing, do 
nothing and accomplish nothing, are moreover untried 
and inexperienced, and yet, after a single took at the Scrip- 
tures, think themselves able wholly to exhaust its spirit. 

Farewell, dear reader, in the Lord. Pray that the Word 
may be further spread abroad, and may be strong against 
the miserable devil. For he is mighty and wicked, and 
just now is raving everywhere and raging cruelly, like one 
who well knows and feels that his time is short, and that 
the kingdom of his Vicar, the Antichrist in Rome,* is sore 
beset. But may the God of all grace and mercy strengthen 
and complete in us the work He has begun, to His honor 
and to the comfort of His littie Bock. Amen. 

■SeePrefitinyNote to the Fourteen «t CootoUtlon, below, p. 109. 
* Laos before this Lutber hid repoUdly u p rea wd the convictioD that the Pope 
«H the Antiduiat fotetold in a Theas. 1:3 U •od Rev. 13 and 17. 

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"A Di^utAttoa OB the Power uid ESoicy of iDdulgences"* b tlie fuD 
titk <d tbe documeot commonly csUed "The Ninetr-fire TheMs." The 
tocm of tbe (Jocument was detetmincd by Uie academic practice of tbe 
Hiddk Ages. In alt tbe Medieval Umvenitiea the "diqnitatiou" was 
ft wdl-eatablished institudon. It was a debate, conducted according to 
accepted rules, on any subject which the chief disputant might dect, 
and no student's educatitai was thought to be complete until he had shown 
bis atnlity to defend himself in discussions of this kind. It was ciutcHnary 
to act forth the nibject which was to be discussed, in a series of "theses," 
whidi were statementa of opinion tentativdy advanced as the basis of 
aiguiBent. The author, tx amne other person iriiom be might dedgnate, 
announced himself ready to defend these statements against all comers, 
and invited all who might wish to debate with him to a part in the discus- 
don. Snch an academic document, one out of many hundreds, exhaling 
tbe atmosphere of the HediKval University, is the Disputation, which 
by its historical importance has earned tbe name "The XCV Theses." 

Tbe Theses were published on the Eve of All Saints (Oct 31), 1517- 
Tbey were not mtended (or any othei public than that of tbe University,* 
and Luther did not even have them printed at first, though cofues were 
forwarded to the Archbishop of M^ns, and to Luther's own diocesan, the 
Bishop ot Brandenburg. Tbe manner of tbdr publication too was academic. 
Tbey wen simjdy posted on tbe door of the Church of All Saints-^-called 
tbe "Castle-churcb," ta distinguish it from its neighbor, the "Town-church" 

not bcckuse more people would see them there tlian elsewhere, but because 
that church-door was the customary place (or posting such announcements, 
tbe predecessor of the "black-board" in tbe modem German University. 
It was not ni^t, but mid-day* when the Theses were naOed Mp, and the 
Eve of An Saints was chosen, not that the crowds who would frequent 
tbe aest day's festival might read them, for tbey were written in Latin, 
but because it was tlie customary day for tbe posting of theses. M<»eover, 
tbe Feast trf All Saints was tbe time when tbe precious rdics, which earned 

'Dlipntstlo pro declaratione Ttrtutii i nd u I sentf si urn. 

* Ltttber lays, Apud nostras el propter noitroi editae lont. 

Waimar Ed., 1, 518. On tbe whole soblect see Lcttcn t« Stsnpits and tbe 

■Cl.W«imar Ed., !,■>»■ 

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z6 The SbMf'ttn TheiM 

the WMD yibo "adoied" them, lonK yean ot indulgence,' wen exhilnttd 
to wonhipers, ftod the <^>pro«ch (rf this high feut-dsy put the thought 
of indulgences uppeimaat in the nindi ol everybody in Wittenberg, includ- 
ing the author of the Theses.' 

But neither the Theses nor the icsults which followed them could be 
confined to Wittenberg. Contrary to Luther's expectation and to bis great 
surprise,* they circulated all through Germany with a r^dity that was 
startling. Within two mcmtha, before the end of 1517, three editions of 
the Latin tut had been printed, one at Wittenberg, one at Nliraberg, asd 
one as far away aa Basel, and copies of the Theses had been sent to Rome. 
Numerous editions, both Latin and German, quickly fdlowed. Luther's 
cotemporaries saw in the publication of the Thaeci "the bcgiiuing of the 
Refotmatiiw,"* and the judgment of modem times has confirmed their 
verdict, but the Protestant of to-day, and eq)ecially the Proteslaut lay- 
man, b almcat certain to be surprised, possibly deeply dls^qxHnted, at their 
contents. They are not "a trumpet-blast of refonn"; that title must be 
reserved for the great works of 1510.* The word "faith," destined to be- 
come the watchword of the Reformation, does not once occur in them; 
the validity of the Sacrament of Paiance is not disputed; the right of the 
pc^ to forgive sins, espcdaUy in "reserved cases," is not denied; even the 
virtue of indulgences b admitted, within limits, and the question at issue 
b simply "What b that virtue?" 

To read the Theses, tbeiefore, with a fair degree of comprehension m 
must know something of the time that produced them, and we must bcal 
two facts continually in mind. We must remember that at tbb tfanc 
Luther was a devoted son of the Church and servant of the pope, periufn 
not quite the "right frantic and raving papist"* he afterwards called him- 
self, but as yet entirely without suspicion of the extent to which he had 
inwardly diverged from the teachings of Roman theology. We must also 
remember that the Theses were no attempt at a searching era mi nation of 
the whole structure and content of Roman teaching, but were directed 

' The Cbuich ot AU Saints at Witteaberg was the rejiostory at the great cot 
lection of relics which Frederick the Wise had githmd. A csUlogue ol the 
(oUectioii, with illiutntions by Lucu Crinach. wai published in 1509. The 
collection contiined 500; aacred objects, including a bit of the crown of thorns 
and some at the Virgin Mother's milk. Adoration o( these relics on All Ssints' 
Day (Nov. ist) w»« rewarded with indulgence for more thau 500,1100 years. So 
VoH Bizoui, Die deutsche ReEormation (1890), p. 100; see sbo 
BuoB, Earlsladt,!, jgfl. 

> Luther hsd preached * semtoo wtmbit agaiut the danger of bidulgnica or 
the Eve ot AO Saints (isi6). See below. 

■ See below, Letter to Leo X. 

'Weimar Ed., I, 130. 

* The Addren to the Cbiistiao NiADity and the Babyknian Cqdivity of tht 

*IntioduetiMitotheCaaiplete Works (154s): abovc^ p. 10. 

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Introdnetion 17 

■gsinit what Luthei conctived to be meidy afausea which had sprung up 
around a single group of doctrines ceaUring in the Sacnunent of Penance. 
He sincerely thought that the teaching of the Tlieses was in full agreement 
with the best traditions of the Church,' and his surprise that they should 
have caused so much excitement is undoubtedly genuine and not fdgned. 
He shows himself both hurt and astonished that he should be assailed as a 
heretic and schismatic, and "called by six hundred other names of ig- 
nmniny."' On the other hand, we are compelled to admit that from the 
outset Luther's opponents had grasped far more completely than he him- 
self the true sgnificaoce o( his "purely academic protest." 

2. Penancff and Indnlgonce.— The purpose of the disputation which 
Luther proposed to bM was to clear up the subject of the virtue of "in- 
dulgences," and the indulgences were the most striking and characterbtic 
feature of the religious life of the Chuidi in the last three Centuries of the 
Middle Ages.' We meet them everywhere — indulgences foe the adoration 
of relics, indulgences for worship at certain shrines, indulgences for pil- 
grimages here 01 there, indulgences for CMitributions to this or that special 
object of charity. Luther roundly charges the Indulgence-vntdors with 
teaching the people that the indulgences an a means to the remission ol sins. 
What are these indulgences? 

Theirhiitorybconnected,oa the me hand, with the history of the Sacra- 
ment of Penance, on the other with the history of the development of 
papal power. The Sacrament of Penance developed out of the administra- 
tion of Church discipline. In the earliest days of the Church, the Chris- 
tian who fell into sin was ptmished by exdusicm from the communion of the 
Church. This ezcommunicatioa was not/ however, permanent, and the 
rinner could be restored to the privileges of Church-fellowship after he 
had confessed his sin, professed penitence, and performed certain peniten- 
tial acts, chief among which were alms-giving, fasting and prayer, and, 
somewhat later, [nlgrimage. These acts of penitence came to have the name 
of "satisfactions," and were a condirion precedent to the reception of abso- 
lution. They varied in duration aitd severity, according to the enormity 
of the o&ence, end for the guidance of those who administered the discipline 
of the Church, sets of rules were fonnulated by which the "satisfactions" or 
"penances" were imposed. These codes are the "Penitential Canons."* 
The first step in the development of the indulgences may be found in the 
practice which gradually arose, of remitting some part of the enjcnned 
"penances" on consderation of the performance of (xrtain acts which 
could be regarded as meritorious. 

The indulgences received a new form, however, and became a part of the 

> See Letter to SUupJti, below. 

* See Letter to Leo X. below. 

*Cf. Gom^i. Kreuiablaii und AlmoieDablasi, p. i. 

*SeeThMMj, 8,8j. 

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i8 The Ninety-fin Theset 

icgulu Church kdmlnbtnti(m, when the popes diicovered the poaiiUlitlei 
whJch lay in thb Institutimi for the advftocemeot of their own power utd 
the furtheiuicc lA their own intertsti. Tlus diacovery seem* to d»te from 
the time of the Crusades. Tlie cnisaxling^ndulgenceg, granted at first 
only to those who actually went to the Holy War, subsequently to thoee 
alao who contributed to the openae of the expedition, were viitually the 
accq>taDcc of this work as a substitute for any penance which the Church 
might otherwise require. As zeal for the Crusades began to wane, the 
indulgences were used more and more freely to stimulate lagging interest; 
their number was greatly increased, and those who purchased the indul- 
gences with money far outnumbered those who actually took the Cross. 
Failing in their purpose as an incentive to enlistment in the crusading armies, 
they showed their value ai a source of income, and from the beginning of the 
XIV. Centory the sale of indulgences became a regular business. 

About the lame time a new kind of indulgence arose to take the place 
(rf the now somewhat antiquated crusading-indulgence. This was the 
Jubilee-indulgence, and had its origin in the Jubilee of 1300. By the Bull 
AntiquoTum Habet Fide, Boniface VIII. granted to all who 
would visit the ahrines of the Apostle* in Rome during the year ijoo and 
during each lucceedbg centennial year, a plensry tndtdgence.' Little by 
little it became the custom to increase the number of these Jubilee-indul- 
gences. Once in a hundred years was not often enough for Christians to 
have a chance for plenary forgiveness, and at last, unwilling to deprive of 
the privileges ot the Jubilee those who were kept away from Rome, the 
popes came to grant the same plenary indulgence to all who would make 
certain contributions to the papal treasury.' 

Meanwhile the Sacrament of Penance had become an integral part of 
the Roman sacramental system, and had replaced the earlier penitential 
discipline as the means by which the Church granted Christians forgiveness 
f<» sins committed after baptism. The sch<dastic theologians had busied 
themaelvea with the theory of this Sacrament. They distinguished between 
its "material," its "form" and its "efiect." The "form" of the Sacra- 
ment was the absolution: its "effect," the forgiveness of sins; Its "material," 
three acts of the penitent: "confession," "contrition," and "satisfaction." 
"Confession" must be by word of mouth, and must include all the sins which 
the sinner could remember to have committed; "contrition" must be sincere 

peccatorum. Mntar, Quellen, id ed., No. 14J. 

■ Thii ciutom of putting the Jubilee-iDrlutgcDcts on sale leemi to date from the 
year 1300. CI. Lea. Hist, of Conf. and Indulg., m. 106. 

No mentioD is here made of the indulgencea attached to adoradoo □( relio, etc. 
On the devebpment ol this form oi iDdulgenct see Lea, Hiit. of Conf. and 
lodulg.. Ill, IJI-I04, 134-105, aiid GoTTLOB, KreuEBblass und 
Almosenablasi.pp. i95->H- 

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Introduction 19 

■ocTow <A the hcwt, ud roust include tlie purpose hencefoRh to kvtnd lin; 
"iBtiaf&ctilm" muat be nude by wotks prtecribed by the prieit who heud 
coaltaaoa. Id the idminiitntion of the Sacnmeot, however, the sbsolu- 
tkm preceded "utiafftction" instead of following it, u it had done in the 
disdpliue of the early Church.' To justify this apparent incomditency, the 
Doctors further distinguished between the "guilt" and the "penalty" of sin.* 
Sins were classifiEd as "mmtal" and "veni^."* Mortal ani for which the 
oSender had not received absolution were punished eternally, wbOe venial 
sins were those which merited only aome smaller penalty; but when a 
mortal sin was confcaoed and absolution granted, the guilt of the sin was 
done away, and with it the eternal penalty. And yet the absolution did 
not open the gate of heaven, though It closed the door of hell; the eternal 
penalty was not to be exacted, but there was e. temporal penalty to be paid. 
The "satisfaction" was the temporal penalty, and if satisfaction was in 
aireais at death, the arrearage must be paid in purgatory, a place of pun- 
ishment for mortal sins confessed and repented, but "unsatisfied," and for 
venial ains, which were not serious enough to bring eteinat condemnation. 
The penalties of purgatory were "temporal," viz., they stopped somewhere 
this side of eternity, and thdr duration could be measured in days and yeais. 
though the number of the yeais might mount high into the thousands and 
tens of thousands. 

It was at this point that the practice of indulgences united with the the4>y 
of the Sacrament of Penance. The indulgences had to do with the "satis- 
faction."* Hey mi^t be "partial," remitting only a portion of the penal- 
ties, measured by days or years of purgatory; or they might be "plenary," 
remitting all penalties due in this world or the next. In theory, bow- 
ever, no indulgence could remit the guilt or the eternal penalty of sin,^ and 
the purchaser of an indulgence was not oaly expected tn confeae and be 
absolved, but he was also siqipaaed to be corde contritus, i. e., 
"truly penitent."* A rigid in^tence on the fulfilment of these conditiona 

' See Thais la. 

* See Ttnaa 4-6, Note ». 

* For Luther's opinioD of this dlithictloD, we the Discoune Concemlni Cmi- 
fesrioD ebewbert in the pitiait volume. 

* "Not even the pooicat part of petuuiee which Is called 'satisfaction,' but the 
leninhM of that poorest part of penance." Letter to Staui^ti, below. 

* There b ample proof that in practice the indulgences were preached as suffideot 
to secun to the purchaser the entire remissian of sin, ind the fonn a culpa et 
poena was ^dally employed in many cases (Cf. BanoEi, Daa Weaea 
desAblassesamAuagangdeaMA.and PRE* DC. 83 fl.. ud Lu. 
History of Con f esslon, etcm.stS.). "It ti difficult to witlistaod the 
conclmioa that even In theory indutgeoca had been declared to be efficadoua lor 
the removal <rf the guilt of sin in the preaecce of God," LtMOSAV, History 
of the Reformation, I, 116. 

* It is on the basis of thli theory that Roman Catholic writets on induliencea 
declare them to be "extni-sacrainentta," i. e„ outside the 5< 
So, e. s, Kun, hi The Catholic Encyclopedia, Ait. In' 

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ao The Nine^-five Theses 

would h«ve greatly mtricted the value of tlie indulgeHcea u a means o( 
gain, for the right to hear confession and grant absolution belonged to the 
parish-priests. Consequently, it became the custom to endow the indul- 
gence-vendeiB with eitraordin&ty powers. They were given the auttuuity 
to bear confeaaita and grant absolution wherever they might be, and to 
absolve even from the sins which were normally "reserved" for the absolu* 
tion of the higher Church authMitks. 

The demand for cootrition was somewhat more difficult to meet. But 
here too there was a way out. Complete craitrition included love to God 
•s its motive, and the truly contrite man was not always easy to find; but 
■ome of the scholastic DoctWB had discovered a substitute for contrition 
En what they called "BttritigO." viz., incomplete contritiim, which might 
have fear for a motive, and which the Sacrament of Penance could transform 
into coDtritim. When, therefore, a man was afraid of heU or of purgatory, 
he could make bis confecnon to the indulgence-Bcller <» bis agent, reodve 
from him the absolution wbEch gave his imperfect rq)entance the value of 
true contriti<Mi, released him from the guilt (rf sin, and changed its etenal 
penalty to a temporal penalty; then he could purchase the plenary indul- 
gence, which remitted the temporal penalty, and so in one transaction, in 
which all the demands of the Church were formally met, he could become- 
sure of heaven. Thus tbe indulgence robbed the Sacrament <rf Penance d 
Its ethical oontenL 

Furthermore, indulgences were made available for souls already tn 
purgatory. This kind of indulgence seems to have been granted for the 
first time in 1476. It had IcMig been beM tbat the prayers of the living 
availed to shorten tbe pains of the departed, and the institution of masses 
for the dead was of long standing; but it was not without some difficulty 
that the P(^>es succeeded in establishing their claim to power over purga- 
tory. Their power over the souls of the living was not disputed. The 
"Power of the Keys" had be«n given to Peter and transmitted \o his suc- 
ceasoisi the "Treasury of the Church,"* i. e., the merits of Christ and of the 
Saints, was believed to be at their dispOGal, and it was this treasury which 
they employed in the granting of uidulgences;' but it seemed reaacatable to 
suppose that their jurisdiction ended irith death. Accordingly, Pope 
Sirtus SVr in i477> declared tbat the power of the Pope over purgatory, 
while genuine, was exercised only per modum sufiragii, "by way 
of intercession."* The distinction was thought dogmatically important, 

• See Thtaes 56-58. 

' Tbe doctrine of the "Treasury of tbe Church" grew up as ■ result of the indol- 
(cnco. It was an attempt to answet tbe question. How can > "satidactioa," 
which God denuds, be waived? Tbeannrci is,By theapplicattaa<rfiDeritsesroed 
tqi Christ and by the Saints who did m o r e than God requires. These merits 
form the Trtasory of tbe Church. Of. Seebeko, PR£?XV, 417; Lea. Hist . 
of Confession, etc.. lU, 14-18. 


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Introdactioii 31 

but to the Uymut, who looked more to lesutts tlun to methods, the differ- 
ence between intnccsuoii and juiisdictioa was trifling. To him the im- 
pMtant thing was tbat the Pope, wbethei by jnrisdictioii or intercession, 
was able to release the soul of a departed Chiistiw ftcm the penalties of 
puigatoiy. It is needless to uy that these indulgences for the dead were 
cagedy purchased. In filial love and natural affection the indulgence- 
vender had powerful allies. 

3. The Indulgence of 1515.— The XCV Theses were called forth by the 
[weachiog of the "JubQee Indulgence"' of 1510, which was not placed on 
■ale in central Gcimany until 1515. The fininiriiil needs of the papacy 
were never greater than in the last years of the XV. and tbe first years of 
the XVI. Ceotuiy, and they were further increased by the resolve of Julius 
n. to erect a new church of St. Petei, which should surpass in magnificence 
all the churches of the worid. The indulgence of 1510 was an extraordinary 
fJ!'*"'-'''! measure, the proceeds of which were to pay for the erection of the 
new Basilica, but wh^n Julius died in 1513, the church was not completed, 
and the money had not been raised. The double task was bequeathed to 
hiasncctssor, LeoX. On the 31st of March, 1515, 1.ea proclaimed a plenary 
indulgence for the Archbislu^a of Magdeburg and Mainz, and a;^ 
pointed Albrecht, ot Brandenburg, who was the incumbent of both sees and 
of tbe bishopric of Halbefstadt as well, Commissionet for the sale of this 
indulgence. By a secret agreement, of which Luther was, of course, entirely 
ignacant,mi»4ialfojtheproceedswas tobepaid tothe Fuggers of Augsburg 
on account of mtneyt advanced to the Archbishi^ for the payment of the 
fees to Rtane, and of the sums demanded in consideration of a. di^>ensation 
allowing him to occiq>y three sees at the same time; the other half of the 
proceeds was to go to the jmpal treasury to be a[q>Iied to the building of the 
new church, llie period during which the indulgence was to be on sale 
was eight yean. 

The acbial work td orpnidng tbe "indulgence-caoipaign" was put into 
tbe hands (rf J<dm Tetiel, whoee large experience in the selling of indul- 
gences fitted him excellently for the post ot Sub-cammissioner. The 
indulgence-sellen acted under the commission of the Archbishop and the 
directions of Tetiel, who took personal charge of the enterprise. The 
preachers wait from dty to dty, and during the time that they were preach- 
ing the indulgence in any given place, all other preaching was required to 
cease.* They held out the usual inducements to prospective buyers. The 
{denary nature of the indulgence was made especially prominent, and the 
people were eloquently exhorted that the purchase of indulgence-letters 
was better than all good works, that they were an insurance against the 

t i. e. A plenuy indulgence similu to tboae granted for pilgrimage tc 
Jobilce-yean. Sec above, p. 18. 

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22 The Ninety-five Theses 

p«iiu of hell and of purgatoiy, thkt th^ avsiled for &11 Mtlsfactions, even 
in the case of the most heinous sins that could be coocdved.' "Confessional 
letters"' were one of the fonns of this indulgence. Hey gave thdr pos- 
sessor permisuon to cbooae his own confessor, and entitled him to pleuur 
TonisaioD once in his life, to Bbsolutioo from sins normally reserved, etc. 
The indulgences for the dead were lealouily proclaimed, and the duty of 
purcha^ng for departed souls release from the pains of purgatory was moat 
urgently enjcuned. So great was the power of the indulgence to alleviate 
the pains of purgatory, that the souls of the departed were said to pass into 
heaven the instant that the coins of the indulgence-buyer jinked in the 

4- Lvflier's ProtMt— The Theses were Luther's protest against the man- 
ner in which this indulgence was preached, and against the Use concep- 
tion of the efficacy of indulgences which the people obtained from nidi 
preaching. They were not his first protest, however. In a sermon, 
preached July 37th, 1516,* he had issued a warning against the false idea 
that a man irtio had bought an indulgence was sure of salvation, and bad 
declared the assertimi that souls could be bought out of pulsatory to be "a 
I^ece of temerity." His warnings were npt^td in other sermons, preached 
October 3i8t, 1516, and February 14th, t5i7.^ The burden of these 
warnings is always the same: the indulgences lead men astray; they indte 
to fear of God's penalties and not to fear of tin; they encourage false hopea 
of salvation, and make light of the true condition of forgiveness, vis., 
sincere and genuine repentance. 

These warnings are repeated in the Theses. The preaching of indul- 
gences has concealed the true nature of repentance; the fir«t thing to con- 
tider b what "our Lord and Master Jesus Christ means," when He says, 
"Repent."* Without denying the p<^'s tight to the power of the keys, 
Luther wishes to come into the clear about the extent of the pope's juris- 
diction, which does not reach as far as purgatory. He brieves that the 
pope has the right to remit "penalties," but these penalties are of the same 
sort as those which ivere imposed in the early Church as a condition prece- 
dent to the absolution; they ore ecclesiastical penalties merely, and do not 
extend beyond the grave; the true penalty of sin n hatred of self, which 
continues until entrance into the kingdom of heaven.' 

The Theses are formulated with continual leference to the statements of 
the indulgence-preachers, and of the Instruction to the Comi 

* See Theaii )5. 

* See Theds 17- 
•Weimar Ed..I.6< 
*Welm>T Ed.. I. 9. 

'See Tbcdi 4. 

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Zntrodoction 33 

le of the ArchtHBb^ of liUnc.' For this mstm then 
it littk logical Kquence in the arrangement of the Tbcaes, and none of the 
attempti to discovn a plan 01 scheme underlying them baa been BuccessfuL' 
la a geaenl way it may be uid that for the poKtive views of Luther on the 
Mibjecta diicussed, Tbeses 30-37 and 41-51 are the moet vital, while 
Theses 92-95 ace sufficient evidence of the motive which led Luther to make 
his protest. 

S- ConclndoiL— The editors of this Tnuiilatioa pcesent herewith a 
new tiaodation of the Theses, together with three letters, which wQI 
bdp the reader to understand the mind of Luther at the time of their 
cmnpoaitioa and his motive Id preparing them. The first of these letten 
is that which was tent, with a copy of the Theses, to Albrecht of Maim. 
Tlie second and third are addressed reflectively to StauiHtz and Leo X., 
and were writtca to accompany the "Resolutions,"' an exhaustive eiplaiia- 
titm and defense of the Theaes, published in 1518, after the controversy had 
becMne bitter. 

6. Uteiatnro, — (a) Sources . The source material for thehlstoryoC 
indulgences is naturally widely scattered. The most amvenient collection 
b found in KoxsLER, Dokumente mm A blassstreit, TtUnngen, 
iQoo. For the indulgences against irtiich Luther protested, see, bcride 
the Editi<HU of Luther's Vfotka, Kapp, Schauplats dea Tetse- 
lischen Ablass>Krams, Ldpag, 1710; Sammlung einlger 
sum plbstlicben AbUss gehfirigen Scbrif ten,Ldpiig, 
i7»;Kleine Nachlese car Erlauterung der Reforma- 

' See LetUr to XtthHiixip, below. The text of this Initnictioa In Kaiv, S a m m- 
lung, etc (1791), pp. 117-306. Tachackett hu sunniaed that even the number 
of the TbcKS was detennioed by the number o( the paragraphs in this Inttmcticm. 
There wen MOf these paiagrajdia, uid of theThesea m+i- EntitehuDg 
d. luth. u. ref. KI rcben t e b r e (igio), p. i6, note i. 

* Tbe foUowioc, baaed on an onpublished maouKiipt of 71i. Btiegei, is an 
inteRMhig analy^ of the contents and nbject-tnatlet ol the Theses. For the 
take of brevity the minor tubdivisians are omitted : 

Introductioii- Tlie ideas fundamentally involved in the conception of poenl* 
tentia {Th. 1-7), 
I. IndulgcDcea lot •oul* in porgatory (Th. 8-19). 

I. Canooicsl paialtia and the pains of puritstoiy fTfa. &-19). 
a. The idatioD of the Pope to puiKatory (Th. lo-ag). 
n. Indulgences for the living (Th. 30-go). 

t. The content and nature o( the ireaddng of hidolgences (Tb. 30-55). 
s. Tbe treasury of the Church (m. s6-«)- 

3. Tbe duty of tbe rcfulai chorch-authoritica b the matter CTh. Af-te). 
CoDdnaiaa (Th. 81-95). 

I. The objectioo* of the laity to tbe indulgence-traffic (Th. 11-91). 
s. Hie evQ motive of tbe traffic m indulgeoces, with viedsl nfcmace to 
the ttatemeau o( Th. t-4 (Hi. 9t-9S)- 
B. BaawLDn, in Katlon's Handbucb der Kirchengeschichta 
(■911), m. 66. 
•Weimar Ed ,, I. pp. JtS «. 

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24 The mnety-flve Theses 

tionsgeicbicbte, Ldpag, 1730 and 17331 >Iw Loeschek, 
Vollsttodige R«foTniBtionsact&,I, Leipag, 1710. 

(b) Secondary Works. Beside the genenl works in Church 
Satoiy and Histoiy of Doctrine, see the Uves oi LuIIht, in Gennan espe- 
cially those of Ktlsllin-Eaweiau, Kolde, Berser and Hausrath; in Engliah 
those of Beard, Jacobs, lindaay, Smith and McGiSert; also Boehheb, 
Luther Im Lichte der oeueren Fotscbung, ad ed., 
Leipzig, 191O' 

On the indulgences in their relation to the Sacmnent of Penance, H, C. 
Lea, History of Confession and Indulgence, especially 
Vol. m, Philadelphia, i8q6i Bkikges, Das Wesen dea Ablasses 
ftm Ausgang des Mittelal ters, Leipag, 1897, and Aitide In- 
dulgenzen in PRE.* IX, pp. 76 B. (Eng. in Schaii-Hemoc v., 
f^. 485-88); GoTTLOB, Ereuzabiass und Almosenablass, 
Stuttgart, tgo6 (especially valuable for the ixi^ of indulgences). 

On the indulgences and the XCV Theses, Eoestun, Luther's Tbe- 
o I o g I e , Lapzig, 1883 (Eng. Trans, by Hay, The Theologyof 
Luther, Phiktdd[rfiia, iSg?); Bratkb, Luther's XCV 
Thesen und ihre dogmengeichichtlicben Vorausset- 
aungen, Gsttingen, 1884; Dieckboff, Der Ablassstreit 
dogmengeschichtlich dargestellt, Gotha, 1886; Lind- 
SAV, History of the Reformation, I, Nev York, 1906; 
TscBACKEBT, Entstehung der luthetiscben und re- 
formierten Ei rchenlebre , Gdttuigen, 1910. 

On the financial aq>ecta of the indulgence-traffic, Schdlte, Die 
Fugget in Rom, 3 vols., Leipzig, 1904. 


ALLEinomi, Pa. 

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OCTOBER 31, 1517 

To the Most Reverend Father in Christ and Most 
Illustrious Lord, Albrecht of Magdeburg and Mainz, 
Archbishop and Primate of the Church, Margrave of 
Brandenburg, etc., his own lord and pastor in Christ, 
worthy of reverence and fear, and most gracious. 


The gnux of God be with you in all its fulness and power! 

Spare me. Most Reverend Father in Christ and Most 
niustrious Prince, that I, the dregs of humanity, have so 
much boldness that I have dared to think of a letter to 
the height of your Sublimity. The Lord Jesus is my wit- 
ness that, conscious of my smallness and baseness, I have 
long deferred what I am now shjimeless enough to do, — 
moved thereto most of all by the duty of fidelity which I 
acknowledge that I owe to your most Reverend Fatherhood 
in Christ. Meanwhile, therefore, may your Highness 
deign to cast an ^e upon one speck of dust, and for the 
sake of your pontifical clemency to heed my prayer. 

Papal indulgences for the building of St. Peter's are cir- 
culating under your most distinguished name, and as 
regards them, I do not bring accusation against the out- 
cries of the preachers, which I have not heard, so much as 

■ la t^ origbul editknu the word Jisira ■ppeus at the b««d ol «uh of the 
wmka, \ai the pccwnt cditon hftve retuDcd the use, which «u ^ip'reatly wi 
Ad of obedience to the comnuDd, " Whatsoever jre do, in word or in deed, do wU 
In the DMM el the Lord Jenm " (Col. 3 : it). 

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36 The ITbwty-flTO Theses 

I grieve over the wholly false impressions which the 
people have conceived from them; to wit, — the unhapi^ 
souls believe that if they have purchased letters of in- 
dulgence they are sure of their Ovation;* again, that so 
soon as they cast thdr contributions into the money-box, 
souls fly out of purgatory;* furthermore, that these graces 
[i. e., the graces conferred in the indulgences] are so great 
that there is no sin too great to be absolved, even, as they 
say — though the thing is impos^ble — if one had violated 
the Mother of God;* again, that a man is free, through 
these indulgences, from all penalty and guilt.* 
*- — O God, most good! Thus souls committed to your care, 
good Father, are taught to their death, and the strict 
account, which you must render for all such, grows and 
increases. For this reason I have no longer been able to 
keep quiet about this matter, for it is by no gift of a bi^op 
that man becomes sure of salvation, since he gains this 
certainty not even by the "inpoured grace"* of God, but 

'hU- i:m the Apostle bids lis always "work out our own salvation 
I Pet in fear and trembling," and Peter says, "the rigjiteous 
„*,„' scarcely shall be saved." Finally, so narrow is the way that 
7:14 leads to Ufe, that the Lord, through the prophets Amos and 

^4:11 Zechariah, calls those who shall be saved "brands plucked 
'*' from the burning," and everywhere declares the difficulty 
of salvation. 

Why, then, do the preachers of pardons, by these false 
fables and promises, n^e the people careless and fearless? 
Whereas indulgences confer on us no good gift, either for 
salvation or for sanctity, but only take away the external 
penalty, which it was formerly the custom to impose ac- 
cording to the canons.* 

*See'The»as. 6, m, 11. 

*Gr«ti« infuse, meuinc the vorluni of God Dpon the betttt tt a 
leans oT irhicb their lives berome pleuiog to God. Cf. Loon' Dotui 

chichte. 4tb ed.. pp. 5&1IT. 

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Letter to the Archbisluv Atbrecht oi Maiaz 37 

Finally, works of piety and love are infinitely better than 
indulgences,* and yet these are not preached with such 
ceremony or such zeal; nay, for the sake of preaching the 
indulgences they are kept quiet, though it is the first and 
the sole duty of all bi^ops that the people should learn 
the Gospel and the love of Christ, for Christ never taught 
that indulgences should be preached. How great then is 
the horror, how great the peril of a bishop, if he permits 
the Go^kI to be kept quiet, and nothing but the noise of 
indulgences to be spr^ul among his people I* Will not 
Christ say to them, "straining at a gnat and swallowing a Uatt. 
camel"?* ■*■** 

In addition to this. Most Reverend Father in the Lord, 
it is said in the Instruction to the Commissaries * which 
is issued under your name. Most Reverend Father (doubt- 
less without your knowledge and consent), that one of the 
chief graces of indulgence is that inestimable gift of God 
by which man is reconciled to God, and all the penalties 
of purgatory are destroyed.* Again, it is said that contri- 
tion is not necessary in those who purchase souls [out of 
purgatory] or buy confessionalia.* 

But what can I do, good Primate and Most Illustrious 
Prince, except pray your Most Reverend Fatherhood by 
the Lord Jesus Christ that you would deign to look [on 
this matter] with the eye of fatherly care, and do away 
entirely with that treatise ' and impose upon the preachers ' 
of pardons another form of preaching; lest, perchance, one 
may some time arise, who will pubUsh writings in which 
he will confute both them and that treatise, to the shame 
of your Most Illustrious Sublimity. I shrink very much 
from thinking that this will be done, and yet I fear that it 
will come to pass, unless there is some speedy remedy. 

' See Thcsei 4I-4T. 

■ See TbcKs s*-SS- 

'SeeThedi So. 

' See ibove, latraduction, p. u f. 

'SeeTlie»e« »i, 33. 

'See TbeiU 35. aad Introductioo, p. 11. 

' va^ The Iiutnictiaa to the Comrnliierie*. 

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a8 The Ninety-flve Tbeses 

These faithful offices of my insignificance I beg that your 
Most Illustrious Grace may deign to accept in the spirit 
of a Prince and a Bishop, i. e., with the greatest clemency, 
as I offer them out of a faithful heart, altogether devoted 
to you, Most Reverend Father, since I too am a part of 
your flock. 

May the Lord Jesus have your Most Reverend Father- 
hood eternally in His keeping. Amen. 

From Wittenberg on the Vigil of All Saints, MDXVII. 

If it please the Most Reverend Father he may see these 
my Disputations, and learn how doubtful a thing is the 
opinion of indulgences which those men spread as though 
it were most certain. 

To the Most Reverend Father, 

Bkoihek Mastin Ldtheb. 

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OCTOBER 31, 1517 

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to 
li^t, the following propositions will be discussed at 
Wittenberg, under ^e presidency of the Reverend Father 
Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and 
Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Where- 
fore he requests that those who are unable to be present and 
debate orally with us, may do so by letter. 

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said 
Poenitentiam agite,' willed that the whole life M*tt. 4 
of believers should be repentance. 

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental 
penance, i. e., confession and satisfaction, which is ad- 
ministered by the priests. 

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there 
is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work 
divers mortifications of the flesh. 

4. The penalty* {of sin], therefore, continues so long as 
hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward tepent- 

' Matt. 4:17. Greek, fwroMUTt; English, "repent"; German. B Q s s e 
tun. The Latin and Getman vcruoos may also be rendend, "Do peoasce"; 
the Grtdi, od the other hand, can <Mily mean "Repent." 

* The Roman theology distinguishes between the "guilt" tod the "penalty" 
of Bu. See lotioduction, p. 19. 


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30 The IHiw^^^Td TbMWt 

ance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom 
of heaven. 

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit 
any penalties other than those which he has imposed either 
by his own authority or by that of the Canons.' 

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring 
that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to 
God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remis- 
don in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to 
grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt 
would remain entirely unforgiven. 

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the 
same time, htunble in all things and bring into subjec- 
tion to His vicar, the priest. 

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the liv- 
ing, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on 
the dying. 

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, 
because in his decrees he always makes exception of the 
article of death and of necessity.* 

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests 
who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances 
for purgatory. 

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the pen- 
M4tt. ***>' °^ purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that 

■3:*5 were sown while the bishops slept. 

13. In former times the canonical penalties were im- 
posed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true 

13. The dying are freed by death frcon all penalties; 
they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right 
to be released from them. 

I Dccnci o{ the Church, having tbc tonx of law. The curan* nfencd M tktn 
■iidbdow(Cf.ThesaS,Sj}4ittheio-caUat poiitentulCuHnu. Sec Introductkn, 
p. ij. 

'Commmring on thii Theais b the Reaolatlons, Luther datinguulu* 
between "temponi" and "eteraal" necessity. "Necessity knows no law." 
"Death is the necessity ol necessities" (Welmat Ed., I, sm; E r 1 . Ed. 
op. VAr. tig.,11, 166). 

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The Di^tttatJMi 31 

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the 
imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, 
great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear. 

r5. This fear and hoiTX)r is sufficient of itself alone (to 
say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of 
purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair. 

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do 
despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety. 

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that 
horror ^ould grow less and love increase. 

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, 
that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of 
increa^g love. 

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that 
all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessed- 
ness, though we may be quite certain of it. 

30. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the 
pope means not actually "of all," but only of those im- 
posed by himself. 

21. TTierefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, 
who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed 
from every penalty, and saved; 

33. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty 
which, according to the canons, they would have had to 
pay in this life. 

33. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remis- 
uon of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this 
remis^on can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, 
to the very fewest. 

34. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of 
the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high- 
sounding promise of release from penalty. 

35. The power which the pope has, in a general way, 
over purgatory, is just tike the power which any bishop or 
curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or 

36. The pope does well when he grants remission to 


32 The Nine^-five Theses 

souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which 
he does not possess),' but by way of intercession. 

27. They preach man* who say that so soon as the 
penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of 

aS. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the 
money-box, gain and avarice can be inaeased, but the 
result of the intercession of the Church is in the power 
of God alone. 

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish 
to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and 

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is ancere; 
much less that he has attained full remission. 

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is 
also the man who truly buys indulgences, i. e., such men 
are most rare. 

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with 
their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salva- 
tion because they have letters of pardon.* 

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say 
that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God 
by which man is reconciled to Him; 

34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the pen- 
alties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are ^pointed 
by man.* 

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that 

hat the PC 

' i. e.. Merely haoun doctrine. 

' An alleged statement ol the indulflence-vcndon. See Letter to Hainz and 

' Lutber leten agun to this story Ed the Resolutions (Weimar Ed.. I, 
p. sS6). The stoiy is that these saiots preferred to remain longer in purgatory 
that they might have greater glory in heaven. Luther adds, "Whoever will, may 
believe in these stories; it is no roncera ot mine." 

• Luther uses the terms "pardon" and "indulgence" interchaogeably. 

* For meaning of the term "satisfaction," see Introductioo, p. IQ L 


The Di^utitliMi 33 

amtrition is not necessary in those who intend to bi^ 
souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.* 

36. Every truly rqwntant Christian has a ri^t to full 
remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters td 

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has 
part in all Uie blessings of Christ and the Church; and this 
is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon. 

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in 
the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the 
pope are in no way to be demised, for they are, as I have 
said,* the declaiatioa of divine remission. 

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theo- 
logians, at one and the same time to commend to the 
people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true 

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but 
liberal pard<ms only relax penalties and cause them to be 
hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them]. 

41. Apostolic* pardons are to be preached with caution, 
lest the pef^le may falsely think them preferable to other 
good works ot love. 

42. Christians are to be tau^t that the pope does not 
intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way 
to works of mercy. 

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the 
poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying 

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man be- 
comes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, 
only more free from penalty. 

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man 
in need, and passes him by, and gives [his m<ni^] for 

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34 The Nine^^^re TbeiM 

paidoDS, purchases not the indolgcnces oS the pope, bat 
the indignatioD of God. 

46. Christiaiis are to be tau^t that unless they have 
^more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is 

necessary for their own fainilies, and by no means to squan- 
der it on pardons. 

47. Cluistians are to be taught that the buying of par- 
dons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. 

48. Ctuistians are to be taught that the pope, in grant* 
ing pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout 
prayer for him more than the money they bring. 

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons 
are useful, if they do not put their trust in Uiem; but alto- 
gether harmful, if throu^ them they lose their fear of 

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pc^ knew the 
exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would T&ibex that St. 
Peter's church ^ould go to ashes, than that it should be 
built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep. 

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the 
pope's wish, as it is his duty, to g^ve of his own money to 
very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardims 
cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might 
have to be sold. 

53. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is 
vain, even though the commissary,* nay, even though the 
pope himself, were to staJce his soul upon it. 

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid 
the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, 
in order that pardons may be preached in others. 

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same 
sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than 
<M» this Word.* 

> Cf. Tbc^ 31. 

t-The cammiHiiMMi who wM the ktUn tt bdidgence. 

■Tbebeit texUnwlilli, "oDit,"i.e., theWcndoiGod. Hie Ell. Ed. bu 

■ varitat, verbi* ev40(elicf*, "the wcnb of the Goqid" (op. v»r. 

■ rs., I, 180). 

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The Dl^otatloa 35 

5$. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardoDS, 
which aie a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, 
with ^ngle procesmons and ceranonies, then the Gospel, 
which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a 
hundred bells, a hundred processions, a htmdred ceremonies. 

56. The "treasures of the Church,"' out of which the pope 
grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known 
among the people of Christ. 

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly 
evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out sudi 
treasures so easily, but only gather them. 

58. Not are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for 
even without the pOf)e, these always work grace for the in- 
ner man, and the cross, death, and bell for the outward man. 

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church 
were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage 
of the word in his own time. 

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, 
pven by Christ's merit, are that treasure; 

61. For it is clear that for the remisaon of penalties 
and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself 

63. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy 
Go^}el of the glory and the grace of God. 

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it 
makes the first to be last. 

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is 
naturally most acc^table, for it makes the last to be 

65. ITierefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with 
which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches. 

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which 
they now fish for the riches of men. 

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the 
"greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as 
they promote gain. 

* See lotnidnctlon, p. to, note i. 

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36 The Nine^-fiT* Theses 

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces 
compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross. 

69. Bishc^ and curates are bound to admit the com- 
missaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence. 

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes 
and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their 
own dreams instead of the commis^on of the pope. 

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostohc pardons, 
let bim be aoaUiema and accursed! 

73. But he who guards against the lust and license 
of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed! 

73. The pope justly thunders' against those who, by 
any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons. 

74. But much more does he intend to thimder gainst 
those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the in- 
jury of holy love and truth. 

75. To think the pE^>al pardons so great that th^ could 
absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin 
and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.* 

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons 
are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far 
as its guilt is concerned.* 

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now P<^, 
could not bestow greater graces; th^ is blas^diemy against 
St. Peter and against the pope. 

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present 
pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his dis- 
p(»al; to wit, the Gospel, powers, {pfts of healing, etc., as 
it is written in I. Corinthians zii. 

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal 
arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgencesj, is 
of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is bla^hemy. 

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow sudi 

* f. c, Thmteai with the "tlnrndm-bolt" cf racDnuDUDkation. 
*See LettR to Hunt, tbove, n. 16. Foe rqittitim ud ddcaie ol the Kate- 
molt agaimt iriiich Luther hm prMestt, McDiip. I. Jo T«t««lli,n. 

99-101; LOCMSBl, I, 513. 

*a. Tberiad. 

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The Diqntfttion 37 

talk to be ^read among the people, will have an ftccount 
to reBder. 

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no 
ea^ matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence 
due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd 
questionings of the laity. 

82. To wit: — "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, 
for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souis 
that are there, if be redeems an infinite number of souis 
for the sake of miserabk money with which to build a 
Church? The former reasons would be most just; the lat- 
ter is most trivial." 

83. Again: — "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses 
for the dead continued, and why does he not return 01 
permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on 
their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?" 

84. Again: — "What is this new piety of God and the 
pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious 
and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul 
of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that 
fuous and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's 

85. Again: — "Why are the penitential canons,' kmg 
since in actual fact and throu^ disuse abrogated and dead, 
now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though 
they were still ahve and in force?" 

86. Again: — "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is 
^o-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just 
this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather 
than with the money of poor believers?" 

87. Again:^ — "What is it that the pope remits, and what 
participation* does he grant to those who, by perfect con- 
trition, have a right to full remission and participation ?" 

88. Again: — "What greater blesang could come to the 
Church than if the p<^ were to do a hundred times a day 

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38 Hie Hinety-^Te Theaes 

what he now does once,* and bestow on every believer these 
temissions and participations?" 

89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation 
of souls rather than money, why does he su^>end the in- 
dulgences and pardons granted heretftfote, since these 
have equal efficacy?"* 

90. To repress these argumaits and scruples of the 
laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving 
reasons, is to espoac the Church and the pope to the 
ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians iinha[^y. 

9t. If, therefore, pardons were preached acomling to 
the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be 
readily resolved; nay, they would not ^ist. 

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the 
people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace) 

93. Blessed be all those prophets iriio say to the people 
of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!* 

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent 
in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, 
and hell; 

95. And thus be confidoit of altering into heaven rather 
throu^ many tribulations, than through the assurance of 

■ The letUr of indulaeDce aotitlad h* powwwr to abioliitloit "oat» In life ind 
in the irtide of dettlt." 
* Durint die time wiim the Jubflet indulgencwiww pt—Aed. otl^ iBdnlgepew 

■ Id a letter to Mldiad DtcHcl, 19 June, 1S16, Lntlier liad written; 'It ii not 
tluLt men, tli»«fore. whom do one distnrbt irito bts peace — whidi b, indeed, tlie 
peace of the worM^at lie whom ell men end all tlun(a btnm and who yet 
bean aU qnietlr witli joy. You say with Israel; "Peace, peace," and tlioe ii 
no peace; Mjr ntber with Christ, "Cioei, aoa," and there U no croae. For the 
mai ceaaei to be ■ croM *i Mca ai yon say icQrfutly: "Bleaad cam. then ii do 
ttee like yon" (PuanvcnSimH, Lather, p. 31). 

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To his Reverend and Dear Father 


Professor of Sacred Hieology, Vicar of the Auguatiniaa 

Brother Martin Luther, 

his pupO, 

sendeth greeting. 

, I remember, dear Father, that once, among those 
pleasant and wholesome taiks of thine, with which the 
Lord Jesus ofttimes ^ves me wondrous consolation, the 
word poenitentia* was mentioned. We were moved 
with pity for many consciences, and for those tormaitors 
who teach, with rides innumerable and unbearable, what 
they call a modus confitendi.* Then we heard 

* 'TeniUnoe," "icpentuice," "peuncc." an tH tnatktloiu o( tUt weed. See 
above, p. 10, note i. 

* Tfae nodaicoDfitcDdi. or "wy of coatarion" ii tin tmchlng ol iriiat 
fbuKntobeamfcncduitbeprkstuidbowtlieruetobeeaiifeMed. Tbetubject 
k dbcnned tally by Luther b fail Ditcutdon of Conlcfflon, below. 

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40 The ninety-fire Theses 

thee say as with a vtnce from heav^i, that there is qo 
true penitence which does not begin with love of righteous- 
ness and of God, and that this love^ which others think 
to be the end and the conq)letion <A penitence, is rather 
its beginning. 
Fa. im:4 This word of thine stuck in me like a sharp arrow of the 
mighty, and from that time forth I began to conqtare it 
with the texts of Scripture which teach penitence. Lo, 
there began a joyous game! The words frollicked with me 
everywhere! They laughed and gamboled around this 
saying. Before that there was scarcely a word in aU the 
Scriptures more bitter to me than "penitence," though I 
was busy making pretences to God and trying to produce a 
forced, feigned love; but now there is no word whidi has 
for me a sweeter or more pleasing sound than "penitence." 
For God's commands are sweet, when we find that they are 
to be read not in books alraie, but in the wounds of our 
sweet Saviour. 

After this it came about that, by the grace of the learned 
men who dutifuUy teach us Greek and Hebrew, I learned 
that this word is in Greek m e t a n o i a and is derived 
from met a and noun, i. e., post and mentem,' 
so that poenitentia or metanoia is a "coming 
to one's senses," and is a knowledge of one's own evil, 
gained after punishment has been accepted and error 
acknowledged; and this cannot possibly happen without a 
change in our heart and our love. AU this answers so 
^tly to the theology of Paul, that nothing, at least in my 
judgment, can so ^>tly illustrate St. Paul. 

Then I went on and saw that metanoia cap be 
derived, though not without violence, not only from post 
and mentem, but also from trans and mentem,* 
so that metanoia signifies a changing* of the mind and 

* Gt., (urd, Lkt, p o 1 1 , Ens., "after"; Gr. (vCi, L>t^ m c D I , EDg., "miDd." 

* The GreA ittri on liao be tmuUted by the Latin t r a n i, which. In com- 
pooDdi, dcoolc* moToncst from ooe plac^ or Uiinc. or cooditiDD to aootbo'. 

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I4ttsr to Ststqiitz 41 

heart, because it seemed to indicate not only a change of 
the heart, but also a manner of changing it, i. e., the 
grace of God. For that "passing over of the mind,"' 
which is true repentance, is of very frequent mention in 
the Scriptures. Christ has displayed the true sigmficance of 
that old word "Passover"; and long before the Passover, Ei. 19:11 
Abraham was a type of it, when be was called a "pilgrim," 1 Ca. s-7 
i. e,, a "Hebrew,"* that is to say, one who "passed over" 
into Mesopotamia, as the Doctor of Bourgos* learnedly 
ei^lains. With this accords, too, the title of the Psalm v*. » 
in which Jeduthun, i. e., "the pilgrim,"* is introduced 
88 the singer. 

Depending on these things, I ventured to think those men 
false teachers who ascribed so much to works of peniteace 
that they left us scarcely anything of penitence itself ex- 
cept trivial satisfactions' and laborious confession, because, 
forsooth, they had derived their idea from the Latin words 
poenitentiam agere,* which indicate an action, 
rather than a change of heart, and are in no way an equiva- 
lent for the Greek m e t a n o i & . 

While this thought was boiling in my mind, suddenly 
new trumpets of indulgences and bugles of remissions 
began to peal and to bray all about us; but they were not 
intended to arouse us to keen eagerness for battle. In a 
word, the doctrine of true penitence was passed by, and 
they presumed to praise not even that poorest part of 
penitence whidi is called "satisfaction,"' but the rexois- 
non of that poorest part of penitence; and they praised it 

hml." "a pQpim." Cf. Goiau ii4. 

* B u T g e D > i 1 , i, c, Paul of BourgM (1353-1435). 

* Another bit of Medieval phltology. 
' See IntnduOioQ, p. ig. 

■ Cf. Htfiii t. and fool-note. 

' Here again, as above, we have the doable Kose ofpoenltentia. 5ati>- 
bctioa is a pait of (Kmnental penance. Lnthet*! charge ii that in preachins 
Uie remuaion of this part of the Sacrament the doctme at true perdteoce <(£ 
Thab i) ii paned by. 

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42 Tlw nine^-flve Theses 

so highly that such praise was never heard before. Then, 
too, they tau^^t impious and false and heretical doctrines 
vith sudi authority (I wished to say "with such assurance") 
that he who even muttered anything to the contrary 
under his breath, would straightway be consigned to the 
flames as a heretic, and condemned to eternal maledic- 

Unable to meet thdr rage half-way, I determined to 
enter a modest dissent, and to call their teaching into 
question, relying on the opinion of all the doctors and of 
the whole Church, that to render satisfaction is better than 
to secure the remission of satisfaction, i. e., to buy indul- 
gences. Nor is there anybody who ever taught otherwise. 
Therefore, I published my Disputation;' in other words, 
I brought upon my head all the curses, high, middle and 
low, which these lovers of money (I should say "of souls") 
are able to send or to have sent upon me. For these most 
courteous men, armed, as they are, with very dense 
acumen, sance they cannot deny what I have said, now 
pretend that in my Disputation I have spdten against 
the power of the Supreme Pontiff.* 

That is the reason. Reverend Father, why I now regret- 
fully come out in public. For I have ever been a lover of 
my comer, and prefer to look upon the beauteous passing 
^ow of the great minds of our age, rather than to be 
looked upon and laughed at. But I see that the bean 
must appear among the cabbages,* and the black must be 
put with the white, for the sake of seemliness and love- 

I ask, therefore, that thou wilt take this foolish work 
of mine and forward it, if possible, to the most Excdlent 
Pontiff, Leo X, where it may plead my cause against the 
designs of those who hate me. Not that I wish thee to 

'The NlDcty-five TbcM*. 

'Tetid'i r^lj to the TheM* (Ddpntatio I 

I. I, pp. S17 ft- 

■ ■ le, chotcoiui !iit«T olert. 

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L rtt tt to SiMpitz 43 

share my daiigerl Nay, I wish this to be cl<Mie at my peril 
only. Christ will see whether what I have said is His or 
my own; and without His permission there is not a word in 
Uk Supreme Pontic's tongue, nor is the heart of the king Pi- ijS^ 
in his own hand. He is the Judge whose verdict I await ftjJSJ^?, 
bom the Roman See. 

As for those threatening friends of mine, I have no 
answer for them but that word of Reuchlin's — "He who is 
poor fears nothing; he has nothing to lose." Fortune I 
neither have nor desire; if I have had teputation and 
honor, he who destroys them is always at work; there 
remains only one poor body, weak and wearied with con- 
stant hardships, and if by force or wile they do away with 
that (as a service to God), they will but make me poorer John i6-' 
by perhaps an hour or two of life. Enough for me is the 
most sweet Saviour and Redeemer, my Lord Jesus Christ, 
to Whom I shall always sing my song; if any one is unwill- f*.Mf^i 
ing to sing with me, what is that to me? Let him howl, 
if he likes, by himself. 

The Lord Jesus keep thee eternally, my gradous Father! 

Wittenberg, Day of the Holy Trinity, MDXVm. 

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To the 

Most Blessed Father, 


Martin Luther, 

Augustioian T-ddx, 

wisheth everlasting welfare. 

I have heard evil reports about myself, most blessed 
Father, by which I know that certain friends have put 
my name in very bad odor with you and yours, saying 
that I have attempted to belittle the power of the keys 
and of the Supreme Pontift. Therefore I am accused 
of heresy, apostasy, and perfidy, and am called by six 
hundred other names of ignominy. My ears shudder and 
my eyes are astounded. But the one thing in which I 
put my confidence remains imshaken — my clear and quiet 
conscience. ' Moreover, what I hear is nothing new. With 
such like decorations I have been adorned in my own 
country by those same honorable and truthful men, i. e., 
by the men whose own conscience convicts them of wrong- 
doing, and who are trying to put thdr own monstrous 
doings off on me, and to glorify their own shame by bring- 

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Letter to ttw Pope 45 

big shame to me. But you will deign, blessed Father, 
to hear the -true case from me, though I am but an un- Jv- rt 
couth child. 

^It is not long ago that the preaching of the JubUee 
indulgences' was begun in our country, and matters went 
so far that the preachers of indulgences, thinking that the 
' protection of your name made anything permissible, ven- 
tured openly to teach the most im[Hous and heretica) 
doctrines, which threatened to make the power of the 
Church a scandal and a laughing-stocl^as if the decretals 
De abusionibus quaestorum* did not apply 
to them. 

Not content with qneading this poison of theirs by 
word of mouth, they published tracts and scattered them 
among the people. In these books — ^to say nothing of the 
insatiable and unheard of avarice of which almost every 
letter in them vilely smells — they laid down those same im- 
pious and heretical doctrines, and laid them down in such 
wise that confessors were bound by their oath to be faith- 
ful and insistent in urging them upon the people. I speak 
the truth, and none of them can hide himself from the beat f*. tg^A 
thereof. The tracts are extant and they cannot disown 
them. These teachings were so succes^ully carried on, 
and the people, with their false hopes, were sucked so dry 
that, as the Prophet says, "they plucked their flesh from off uk. j:i 
their bones"; but th^ themselves meanwhile were fed 
most pleasantly on the fat of the land. 

There was just one means which they used to quiet 
oppoation, to wit, the protectioD of your name, the threat 
of burning at the stake, and the disgrace of the name 
"heretic." It is incredible how ready they are to threaten, 
even, at times, when they perceive that it is only their 
own mere ^lly o^rinions which are contradicted. As 
though this were to quiet oppoation, and not rather to 
arouse schisms and seditions by sheer tyranny I 


46 The Ninety-flve Theses 

None the less, however, stories about the avarice of the 
priests were bruited in the taverns, and evil was qwken 
of the power of the keys and of the Supreme Fcmtiff, and 
as evidence of this, I could dte the common talk of this 
whole land. I truly confess that I was on fire with zeal 
for Christ, as I thought, or with the heat of youth, if you 
prefer to have it so; and yet I saw that it was not in place 
for me to make any decrees or to do anything in these 
matters. '*^ Therefore I privately admonished some of the 
prelates of the Church. By some of them I was kindly 
received, to others I seemed ridiculous, to still others 
something worse; for the terror of your name and the 
threat of Church censures prevuled. At last, since X 
could do nothing else, it seemed good that I should offer 
at least a gentle resistance to them, i. e., question and dis- 
cuss their teachings. Therefore I publish^ a set of theses, 
inviting only the more learned to dilute with me if they 
wished; as ^ould be evident, even to my adversaries, from 
the Preface to the Disputation.^ / 

Lo, this is the fire with which they complain that all the 
worid is now ablaze! Perhaps it is because they are in- 
dignant that I, who by your own apostolic authority am 
a Master of Theology, have the right to conduct public 
disputations, acconling to the custom of all the Universi- 
ties and of the whole Church, not only about indulgences, 
but also about God's power and remission and mercy, 
which are incompar^ly greater subjects. I am not much 
moved, however, by the fact that they envy me the privi- 
lege granted me by the power of your Holiness, since I am 
unwillingly compelled to yield to them in things of far 
greater moment, viz., when they mix the dreams of 
Aristotle with theological matters, and conduct non- 
sensical disputations about the majesty of God, beyond 
and against the privilege granted them. 
V It is a miracle to me by what fate it has come about 

*Tbe Niocty^vcT 


Letter to flie Pope 47 

that this angle Disputation of mine should, more than 
any other, of mine or of any of the teachers, have gone out 
into very nearly the whole land. It was made pubhc at 
our University and for our Univerdty only, and it was 
made pubUc in such wise that I cannot believe it has be- 
come known to all men. For it is a set of theses, not doc- 
trines or dogmas, and they are put, according to custom, 
in an obscure and enigmatic way. Otherwise, if I had 
been able to foresee what was coming, I should have taken 
care, for my part, that they would be eaaer to understand/ 

Now what shall I do? I cannot recant them; and yet I 
see that marvelous enmity is inflamed against me because 
of their dissemination. It is tmwillingly that I incur 
the public and perilous and various judgment of men, 
especially since I am uxdeamed, dull of brain, empty of 
sdiolarship; and that too in this brilliant age of ours, which 
by its achievements in letters and learning can force eveai 
Cicero into the comer, though he was no base follower of 
the public light. But neces^ty compels me to be the 
goose that squawks among the swans. 

And so, to soften my enemies and to fulfil the desires of 
many, I herewith send forth these trifling explanations of 
my Disputation; I send them forth in order, too, that 
I may be more safe under the defense of your name and the 
shadow of your protection. In them all may see, who will, 
how purely and amply I have sought after and cherished 
the power of the Church and reverence for the keys; and, 
at the same rime, how unjustly and falsely my adversaries 
have befouled me with so many names. For if I had been 
such a one as they wish to mdte me out, and if I had not, 
on the contrary, done everything correctly, according to 
my academic privilege, the Most Illustrious Prince Freder- 
ick, Duke of Saxony, Imperial Elector, etc., would never 
have tolerated such a pest in his University, for he most 
dearly loves the Catholic and Apostohc truth, nor could 
I have been tolerated by the keen and learned men of our 
University. But what has been done, I do because 


48 Th« Ninely-flTe Tbesw 

those most courteous men do not fear openly to involve 
both the Prince and the University in the same disgrace 
with myself.* 

Wherefore, most blessed Father, I cast myself at the feet 
of your Holiness, with all that I have and all that I am. 
Quicken, kill, call, recall, approve, reprove, as you will. 
In your voice I shall recognize the voice of Christ directing 
you and speaking in you. If I have deserved death, I 
[ shall not refuse to die. For the earth is the Lord's and 
the fulness thereof. He is blessed forever. Amen. 

May He have you too forever in His keqiing. Amen. 


•SMTetnl'iIL Diiputatloi 

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b, Google 

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This treatise ii not a lennon in llie ordinary acceptatkn of the tena. 
It WS9 not prcsched, but, according to the Latin usage <rf tlie word "mtdio," 
was ratlia "a discoune," "a discussion," "a disputation" cmcecning bap- 
ttun. Even in popular usage, the term "aetmon" implies careful prepara- 
tion and the orderiy arrangement tA thought. Here, therefore, we have a 
carefully prepared statement of Luther's ofHnion of the real rigoificauce of 
baptism. Published in November, isig, and shortly afterward in a Latin 
translation,' it shows that the leading features of his doctrine on this subject 
were already fixed. With it should be read the chapter in the Large Cate- 
chism (1519), and the treatise Von der Wiedertaufe (1538).' 
The treatmoit b not polemical, but objective and practical. The Ana- 
baptist controversy was stfll in the future. No objections against Infant 
Baptism or problems that it suggested were presung for attention. Noth- 
ing mwe is attempted than to explain in a very plain and practical way 
how every one who has been baptised should regard his baptism. It com- 
mits to writing in an entirely impenonal way a problem of Luther's own 
inner life, for the instruction of others dmitarly peipteied. 

He is confronted with a rite umversally found in Christendom and no- 
where else, the one distinctive mark of a Christian, the seal of a divine cove- 
nant. What it means is proclaimed by its veiy external form. But it b 
mott than a mere object-lesson pictorially representing a great truth. 
With Lutha, Word and Spirit, sign and that which b signified, belong to- 
gether. Wherever the one b present, there also b the efficacy of the other. 
The tign h not limited to the moment of administration, and that which U 
«ignifiw4 is not projected far into the dbtant future of adult ytzia. 

The enq>hatic preference here shown for immersion may surprise those 
not familiar with Luther's writings. He prefers it as a matter of choice 
betweoi non-essentials. To quote mJy hb treatise of the next year on the 
Babylonian Captivity: " I wish that those to be b^itised were entirety 
sunken in the water; not that I think it necessary, but that of so perfect 
and complete a thing, there should be also an equally complete and perfect 
sign."* It was a form that was granted as permissible in current Ordert 

*Erl. Ed., op. var. aTg.,III, 3M-4IO. 
■Brl. Ed., XXVI, 1J6-194- 

'Eri. Ed., op. var. arg.,V,66. For an exhaustive treatment of Luther's 
n, ^rinkliag, and pouring, see Ekauth, Conicrvativ* 
, SiO-SM- 


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Sa Treatise on Baptism 

^^Toved by the Romsn Church, and wm continued b succeeding Orders.* 
Even when inuncrsuHi waa not used, the copious ^iplicktioa of the mtet 
wu a prominent feature of the ceremony. No one is better qualified to 
tp^k on this subject than Prof. Rietschd, himsdf fonnerly a Wittenberser: 
"The form of baptism at Wittenberg is manifest fnnn the [ucture by L. 
Cranach on the altar of the Wttenbetg Pfarikirche, b which 
UelaDchtbra b administeriDg b^itism. At Udanchthcm's left fund 
Uca the completdy naked child ovti the foot. With his ri^t hand he is 
pouring water iqxm the child's head, from irtiich the water b cofnously 

Nor should it be ((^gotten that the immenitm iriuch Luther had in 
mind was not that of adults, almost unhnomt at the time, and as he himaeU 
layt, practically unknown foe about a thousand yean,* but that of {nfants. 
In the immeruon of infants, be finds two things: first, the sinking of the 
diild beneath the water, and, thea, its being raised out, the one signif^ng 
death to sin and all its consequences, and the other, the new life into which 
the child is introduced. Four years later Luther introduced into the revised 
Order of Baptism irtiicb he prepared, the Collect of andent form, but which 
the most diligent search of lituigica] sdiotan haa thus far been unable to 
discover in any of the prayers of the Andent or Mediteval Churdi, ti pr es a- 
ing in condensed fonn this thou^L We quote the introduction, as frcdy 
rendered by Cianmer in the Fiist Prayer Book of Edward VI: "Almigh^ 
and Everiasting God, Which, of Thy justice, didst destroy by floods <d watet 
the iriiole world for sin, ezcqpt eig^t pcnoos, whom <rf Hty mercy Thoa 
didst save, the same time, in the ark; and when Tbou didst drown in the 
Red Sea wicked King Pharaoh with all his army, yet, the same time, Thoa 
didst lead Thy people, the children of Israel, safely throu^ the midst thereof; 
wtiereby Thou didst figure the washing of Thy holy baptism, and by the 
baptism of Thy well-beloved Son, Jesus Christ, didst sanctify the flood of 
Jordan, and all other waters, to the mystical washing away of sin," etc.* 

The figure is to him not that d an act, but of a process extending througb- 
ont the entire earthly life of the one b^ttised. Sin is not drowned at 
once, or its consequences escaped in a minuDit. It b a graphic presenta- 
tion in e^^tiHne of the entire work of grace with thb subject.* Life, there- 

I For formolas, lee HtiruHO, Das Sacrament der Taufc.II, 40. 

■ RmrscoiL, L e h r b a c b der Li tuigik, n, 67 f. 

■ "If Infuit Bvtiam woe dM ri^t, then foe one thoiiund ytm then was no 
baptism and no Christian Church,"ETl. £d.,XXVl, 9S7. 

* Hon literaOy, bat with M mM diffotnce, in tbc Lutheran Cborcb Book, 
p. 313. lie Book of Common Prayer, foUowinf The II. Prayer< 
book of Edward V I , bu abbreviated it. 

'Small Catechism: "Baptian aJcnifiea that the aid Adam hi us Is to be 
drowned and d tstiuywl by daily sorrow and repentance, tocether with all lins and 
evil lusts; and that again (be new man should daily come foith and rise, that shal 
Eve to the presence of God, in ri|hrniiimrm and purity for ever." 

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Introdnction 53 

fote, io the Uoguge of this tmtiM, is "b popetnal twptbm." As the mirk 
ot our Oiriatiui profession, u the ncruDentBl oath of the soldkr of the 
CToas, it is the aotems dedantioD of relentlcM wufue against sin, and of 
Ue-loDg devotim to Christ oui Leader. As the true bride is re^tonsive to 
no othet love than that of het husband, so one faithful to his baptism is 
dead to all dse. It la as though all else had been sunk beneath the sea. 

In the distinction drami betireen the sacramental ugn and the lacn- 
mental efficacy in paragraphs seven and eight, the Protestant distinction 
. between justification and sanctification is invdved. The one baptised, be- 
comes in hii baptism, iritoUy dead to the condemning power of sin; but so 
ar as the presence of sin is concerned, the work of deliverance has just 
begun. This is in ^aiing ctmtmt with the scbolaitic doctrine that original 
sin itsdf is entirdy eradicated in baptism.* For baptism but begins the 
constant struggle against sin that ends only with the dose of life. Hence 
the warning against making of baptism a ground for presumption, and 
against idaiing the earnestness of the Stixiggf* upon the assumption that 
one has been baptised. For unlesa baptism be the b^inning of a new 
life, it is without meaning. 

Nor is the eaix less fatal which resorts to satisfactions, self-chosen or 
nxlesissticslly iq>pcHnted, for the forgivenesi of sin committed after baptism. 
Foi as evoy sin committed after baptism is a falling away from baptism, 
all repentance is a return to baptism. No forgiveness is to be found exc^t 
upon the terms of our baptism. Never changing k God's covenant. If 
broken on our part, no new covenant is to be sou^t. We must return to 
the faith of our childhood or be lost. The Medieval Church had devised a 
saciamoit of penance to supplement and repair the alleged broken down and 
inoperative sacrament of baptism. Baptism, so ran the teaching, blotted 
out the past and put one on a plane to make a new beginning; but, then, 
when he fell, there was this new saoament, to which resort could be taken. 
It was the "second plank," wrote Jerome, "by which one could swim out 
of the sea of his sins." "No," exdaimed Luther, in the Large Catechism, 
"the ship of our b^>tism never goes down. If we fall out of the ship, there 
it is, ready for our return."* 

There are, then, no vows whstever that can be substitutes for our bap- 
tism, or can supplement it. The baptisnuJ vow comprehends everything. 
Only one distinction Is admissible. While the vow made in baptism is uni- 
versal, binding all alike to complete obedience to God, there are particular 
spheres in which this general vow is to be ezerdsed and fulfilled. Not all 
Christians have the same office at the same calling. When one answers 
a divine call directing him to some q>edfic fonn of Christian service, the 

■Decrees of Trent. SesdonV.s: 'Tf any one asserts Uiat the whole of that 
which has the proper nature of sin is not (akeo away, but only evaded or not im- 
puted, let him be accursed." 

'Book of Concord, Ens. Trans., P- 475- 

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54 Treatise cm Baptism 

vow made in rap«Mue to such call is only the Te-aStmation and a{q>ticad(« 
to a peiticulai reUtion of the one obligatory vow of baptism.' 

While the divine inidtuticoi and Word of God in bsptimn are of prime inn 
pMtaoce, the office of faith must also be made piominoit. Faith ia the 
third element in baptism. Faith docs not make the sacrament; but faith 
appro[wiatcs and appliea to sdf what the sacrament ofiets. Non tacra- 
mentura, sed fides sacramenti justificat. Nor aie we 
left in doubi as to what is here meant by the term "faith." In paragraph 
fourteen it is explicitly descnbed. Faith, we are then taught, is nothing 
else than to lixA away from gdf to tbe metcy of God, as He ofien it in the 
word of His grace, whereof baptiam is the seal to every child baptised. 

Luther's purpose, in this discussion, being to guard against the Medieval 
theory of any opus opcratum* efficacy in the sacrament, he would 
have wandeied from bis subject, if he had entered at this place into any 
extended dtacuision of the nature of the faith that is required. A few years 
later (153S), the Anabaptist reaction, which o vet-emphasised the subjective, 
and depredated the objective side of the sacraments, necessitated a much 
fuller treatment of the peculiar office of faith with rcq>ect to baptism. To 
comidete the discumitm, the dtation of a few sentences from his treatise. 
Von del Wiedcrtaufe, may, therefore, not be without use. In- 
risting that, inqxntaut as faith is, the divine Word, and not faith, is the 
basit of baptism, he shows how one who regards faith, on the part of the 
candidate for liaptism, eMential to its validity, can ttever, if consstent, ad- 
minister baptism; since there is no case in which he can have abs<riute 
certainty that faith is present. Or if one should have doubts as to the valid- 
ity of bis baptism in infancy, because be haa no evidence that he then be- 
lieved, and, for this reaacm, should ask to be baptiBed in adult years, then if 
Satan should again trouble him as to whether, evtn when baptised the 
■ecofid time, he really had faith, he would have to be baptised a third, and a 
fourth time, and loonad infinitum, as long as such doubts recurred.* 
"For it often haj^xni that one who thinks that he has faith, has none 
whatever, and that one who thinks that he has no faith but only doubts, 
actually believes. We are not told: "He who knows that be believes,' or 
'If you know that you bdieve,' tiut: "He that believeth shall be saved.' "* 
' In other words, it is not faith in our faith that b asked, but faith in the 
Word and uistitution of God. Again: ^'Tdl me: Which is the gre«t(T, 
the Word of God ot faith? Is not the Word of God the greater? For the 
Word does not d^iend upim faith, but it b faith that is dependent on God's 

> Luther rectus to this subject in a nibamumt tnatiK, the Confitend 
Ratio, below pp. 81 8. 

■ 1. e. The theory <rf the Roman Church that even witbont the faltb of a n 
dpicDt, the blenni of the ncramcnt I* bestowed. 

■ErI. Ed., XXVI, 168. 


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Litrodaction SS 

Word. Faith mvtn kod dungei; but the Word of God tindci foicvc^j* 
"The nun who bases hU baptism on hii faith, H not only uncertkin, but he U 
■ godless and hypocritical Christian; for he puts bis trust b iriiat is not 
his own, viz., m a gjft which God has given him, aod not akme in the 
Word of God; just as anotha builds upon bis stiength, wisdom, power, 
holiness, which, nevertheless, are pfts which God has given us."' Even 
though at the time oC baptism there be no faith, the baptism, nevertheless, 
is valid. For U at the time ot marriage, a maiden be without love to the 
man whom she mairies, when, two yean later, she haa learned to love bet 
husband, there b no need of & new betrothal and a new marriage; the cove- 
nant previously made is sufficient.' 

In barainiy with the stress laid in this treatise upon the fact that baptism 
b a treasury of consolation offered to the faith of every individual baptised, 
is the great emphaws which Luther, in other places, was constrained to lay 
upm personal as distinguished from vicarious faith. Neither the faith of 
the ^MDSors, nor that of the Church, for which, according to Augustine, the 
sponsors q>eak, avails more than simply to bring the child to baptism, 
where it becomes an independent agent, with whora God now deals directly. 
Thus the Large Catechism declares: "We bring the child in the puipooe 
and hope that it may believe, and we pray God to grant it faith, but we do 
not baptise it upon that, but solely iqton the command of God."* Still 
mace explicit is a sermon on the Third Sunday after E^phaay; "The 
words, Mark i6:i6, Romans 1:17, and John 3:16, iS are clear, to the effect 
that every one must believe for himself, and no one can be helped by the 
faith of any me else, but only by his own faith." "It is just as in the natural 
life, no one can be bom few me, hut I must be bom myself. My mother may 
bring me to birth, but it is I who am bom, and no me else." "Thus no 
<me is saved by the faith of another, but solely by his own faith."* 

The treatise is found In Weimar Ed., II, 7U-737; Erlangea 
Ed., XXI, 319-144; St. Louis Ed., X, 1113-1116; Cumkh and 
LErrzKAim, Luthers Werke,!, (1911), 1S5-1Q5. 



>BtI. Ed., XXYI, 19*. 


■Ibid., 175- 

*Book of Cancord, English Trswlatkn, 9.473- 

*Erl. Ed., XI, A3, 58; id Ed., XI, 65, 61. See on 
Lutheran Church Bevie*, XVm, S9S-O57. < 
m*jr he Imnd irith full conteit translated, togetber wltt 
Luthcc and those who followed hhn, on tbe same subject. 

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5^"^ I. Baptism [German, die Taufe]is called in the 
Wofd Greek langu^;e baptismos, in Latin m e r s i o , 
which means to plunge something entirely into the water, 
so that the water closes over it. And i^though in many 
places it is the custtmi no longer to thrust and plunge 
children into the font of baptism, but <mly to pour the 
baptismal water upon them out of the font, nevertheless 
the former is what should be done; and it would be right, 
according to the meaning of the word T a u f e , that the 
child, or whoever is b^tised, should be sunk entirely into 
the water, and then drawn out again; for even in the 
German tongue the word Taufe comes undoubtedly 
from the word t i e f , and means that what is baptised is 
sunk deep into the water. This usage is also demanded by 
the dgnificance of baptism, for bi^tism sigrufies that tbt 
old man and the sinful birth of fl^ and blood are to be 
wholly drowned by the grace of God, as we shall bear. 
We ^ould, therefore, do justice to its meaning and make 
baptism a true and complete sign of the thing it signifies. 

TiwSica n. B^tism is an external agn or token, which so di- 
vides us from all men not baptised, that thereby we are 

Heb. 1:10 known as a people of Christ, our Captain, under Whose 
banner (i. e., the Holy Cross) we continually fight against 
sin. Therefore in tiiis Holy Sacrament we must have 
regard to three things — the sign, the significance thereof, 
and the faith. The sign consists in this, that we are thrust 
into the water in the Name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Ghost; but we are not left there, for we 
are drawn out again. Hence the saying, Aus der 

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Treatise on Baptism 57 

Taufe gehoben.* The sign must, therefore, have 
both its parts, the putting in and the drawing out. 

m. The significance of b^tism is a blessed dying unto ^ 
sin and a resurrection in the grace of God, so that the old sixnUad 
man, which is conceived and bom in sin, is there drowned, 
and a new man, bom in grace, comes forth and rises. Thus 
St. Paul, in Htus iii, calls baptism a "washing of legenera- ni- y.s 
tion," since in this washing man is bom again and made 
new. As Christ also says, in John iii, "Except ye be bom Jobu y.s 
again of water and the Spirit of grace, ye shall not enter 
into the Kingdom of Heaven." For just as a child is drawn 
out of its mother's womb and bom, and through this 
fleshly birth is a sinful man and a child of wrath, so man is Eph. 1^ 
drawn out of baptism and spiritually bom, and through 
this spiritual birth is a child of grace and a justified man. 
Ther^ore dns are drowned in baptism, and in place of sin, 
s comes forth. 

IV. This significance of baptism, viz., the dying or'**^jV_ 
drowning of sin, is not fulfilled completely in this hfe, nay, bms 
not until man passes through bodily death also, and utterly 
decays to dust. The sacrament, or ^gn, of baptism is 
quickly over, as we plainly see. But the thing it signifies, 
viz., ^e ^iritual baptism, the drowning of sin, lasts so 
long as we five, and is completed only in death. Then it is 
that man is completely stmk in baptism, and that thing 
comes to pass wbdch baptism signifies. Therefore this life 
is nothing else than a spiritual baptism which does not 
cease till death, and he who is baptised is condemned to 
die ; as though the priest, when he baptises, were to say, "Lo, 
thou art sinful fiesh ; therefore I drown thee in God's Name, 
and in His Name oindemn thee to thy death, that with thee 
all thy sins may die and be destroyed." Wherefore St. 
Paul says, in Ronums vi, "We are buried with Christ by Rom- 4'-4 

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58 Treatise on Baptism 

baptism into death"; and the sooner after baptism a man 
dies, the sooner is his baptism c<»npleted; for sin never 
entirely ceases while thb body Uvea, which is so wholly 
conceived in sin that sin is its very nature, as saith the 
^5 Prophet, "Behold I was conceived in sin, and in iniquity 
did my mother bear me"; and there is no help for the ^ul 
nature unless it dies and is destroyed with ^ its sin. So, 
then, the life of a Christian, from baptism to the grave, is 
nothing else than the beginning of a blessed death, for at 
the Last Day God will make him altogether new. 

'• V. In like manner the lifting up out of baptism is quickly 
done, but the thing it signifies, the spiritual birth, the in- 
crease of grace and righteousness, though it begins indeed 
in baptism, lasts until death, nay, even until the Last Day. 
Only then will that be finished which the lifting up out of 
baptism signifies. Then shall we arise from deatii, from 
sins and from all evil, pure in body and in soul, and then 
shall we live forever. Then shall we be truly lifted up out 
of baptism and completely bom, and we shall put on the 
true baptismal garment of immortal life in heaven. As 
though the sponsors when they lift the child up out of bap- 
tism,* were to say, "Lo, now thy sins are drowned; we 
receive thee in God's Name into an eternal life of inno- 
cence." For so will the angels at the LAst Day raise up 
all Christians, all pious baptised men, and will there fulfil 
what baptism and the sponsors signify; as Christ says in 
Matthew xxiv, "He shall send forth His angels, and they 

' ^lall gather unto Him His elect from the four places of the 
winds, and from the rismg to the setting of the sun." 

VI. Bi^tism was presaged of old in Noah's flood, vrhca 
the whole world was drowned, save Noah with three sons 
and their wives, eight souls, who were kept in the ark. 
That the people of the world were drowned, signifies that 

'See tbon, p. 56, n 

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TrMtiM on BiptiBm S9 

in baptism sins are drowned; but that the eight in the ark, 
with beasts of every sort, were preserved, signifies that 
through baptism man is saved, as St. Peter explains, i P<t. 
Now baptism is by far a greater flood than was Uiat of *'"' ** 
Noah. For that flood drowned men during no more than 
one year, but baptism drowns all sorts of men throughout 
the world, from the birth of Christ even till the Day of 
Judgment. Moreover, it is a flood of grace, as that was 
a flood of wrath, as is declared in Psahn zxviii, "God will Pi. 19:10 
make a continual new flood."' For without doubt many 
more people are b^tised than were drowned in the flood. 

VII, From this it follows that when a man comes forth ^J^IS" 
out of baptism, he is pure and without sn, wholly guiltless, tt an 
But there are many who do not rightly understand this, 
and think that sin is no more present, and so they become 
slothful and negligent in the killing of their sinful nature, 
even as some do when they have gone to Confession. 
For this reason, as I said above," it should be rightly 
understood, and it should be known that our flesh, so long 
as it lives here, is by nature wicked and sinful. To correct 
this wickedness God has devised the plan of making it 
altogether new, even as Jeremiah shows. The potter, Jcr. 
when the pot "was marred in his hand," thrust it again ' ^ 
into the lump of clay, and kneaded it, and afterwards made 
another pot, as it seemed good to him. "So," says God, 
"are ye in My hands." In the first birth we are marred; 
therefore He thrusts us into the earth again by death, and 
makes us over at the Last Day, that then we may be per- 
fect and without sin. 

This plan He begins in baptism, which signifies death 
and the resurrection at the Last Day, as has been said.* 
Therefore, so far as the sign of the sacrament and its sig- 

mtaf Tiriaticsi bom tbc Umiliat t«it of Sorptun. 
*Sn kbovc, p. 5S. 
• See ■bovc, p. j;. 

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6o TreatlM oo Baptism 

nificance are concerned, sins and the man are both already 
dead, and he has risen again, and so the sacrament hais 
taken place; but the work of the sacrament has not yet 
been fully done, that is to say, death and the resurrection 
at the Last Day are yet before us. 

^" Vm. Man, therefore, is altogether pure and guiltless, 

Baptinn but sacramentally, which means nothing else than that he 
has the ^gn of God, i. e., baptism, by which it is shown that 
his ^ns are all to be dead, and that he too is to die in grace, 
and at the Last Day to rise again, pure, sinless, guiltless, 
to everlasting life. Because of the sacrament, then, it is 
true that he is without sin and guilt; but because this 
is not yet completed, and he still lives in sinful flesh, he is 
not without sin, and not in all things pure, but has begun 
to grow into purity and innocence. 

Therefore when a man comes to mature age, the natural, 
sinful aiq)etites — ^wrath, impurity, lust, avarice, pride, and 
the like — begin to stir, whereas there would be none of these 
if all ^ns were drowned in the sacrament and were dead. 
But the sacrament only signifies that they are to be 
drowned through death and the resurrection at the Last 
Rom. Day. So St. Paul, in Romans vii, and all saints with him, 
'"'* lament that they are smners and have sin in their nature, 
although they were baptised and were holy; and they so 
lament because the natural, sinful appetites are always 
active so long as we Uve. 

J^^ DC. But you ask, "How does baptism help me, if it does 
nuit not altogether blot out and put away sin?" This is the 
place for the ri^t understanding of the sacrament of bap- 
tism. The holy sacrament of baptism helps you, because 
in it God allies Himself with you, and beonues one with 
you in a gracious covenant of comfort. 
pi!i« Fiist of all, you give yourself up to the sacrament of 
baptism and what it signifies, i. e., you deaire to die, to- 
gether with your sins, and to be made new at the Last Day, 

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TxMtlae m Bivtism 6i 

as the sacramait declaies, and as has been said.' This 
God accepts at youi hands, and giants you b^tism, 
and from that hour begins to make you a new man, pours 
into you His giace and Holy Spirit, Who begins to slay 
nature and sin, and to piepaie you for death and the 
resurrection at the Last Day. 

Again, you pledge yourself to continue in this, and more 
and more to slay your sin as long as you live, even imtil 
your death. This too God accepts, and trains and tries 
you all your life long, with many good works and mani- 
fold sufferings; whereby He effects what you in baptism 
have desired, viz., that you may become free from sin, may 
die and rise again at the Last Day, and so fulhl your baptism. 
Therefore, we read and see how bitterly He has let His 
saints be tortured, and how much He has let them suffer, 
to the end that they might be quickly slain, mig^t fulfil 
their baptism, die and be made new. For when this does 
not happen, and we suffer not and are not tried, then the 
evil nature overcomes a man, so that he makes bis bap- 
tism of n<me effect, falls into sin, and remains the same 
old man as before. 

X. So long, now, as you keep your pledge to God, He, SjS^ 
in turn, gives you His grace, and pledges Himself not to 
count against you the sins which remain in your nature 
after baqjtism, and not to regard them or to condemn you 
because of them. He is satisfied and well-pleased if you 
are constantly striving and desiring to slay these sins and 
to be rid of them by your death. For this cause, although 
the evil thoughts and ai^tites may be at work, nay, even 
although you may sin and fall at times, these sins are al- 
ready done away by the power of the sacrament and 
covenant, if only you rise again and enter into the cove- 
nant, as St. Paul says in Romans viii. No one who be- Kwt.8:i 
lieves in Christ is condemned by the evil, dnful indina- 

I Sec above, p. S7 

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6a TnatiM on Bivt^sm 

tion <^ his nature, if only he does not follow it and consent 
I John to it; and St. John, in bis Epbtle, writes, "If any man sin, 
*"* *• we have an Advocate with Ciixl, even Jesus Christ, Who has 
become the forgiveness of our sins." All this takes place 
in baptism, where Christ is given us, as we shall hear in the 
remainder of the treatise. 


XI. Now if this covenant did not exist, and God were not 
^Uia" so merciful as to wink at our sins, there could be no sin so 
C^- small but it would condemn us. For the judgment of God 
can endure no sin. Therefore there is on earth no greater 
comfort than baptism, for through it we come under the 
judgment of grace and mercy, which does not condemn 
our sins, but drives them out by many trials. There is a 
fine sent^ce ci St. Augustine, which says, "Sin is alto- 
gether forgiven in baptism; not in such wise that it is no 
longer present, but in such wise that it is not takai into 
account." As though he were to say, "Sin remains in our 
flesh even until death, and works without ceasing; but so 
long as we do not consent thereto or remain therdn, it is 
80 overruled by our baptism that it does not condemn us and 
is not harmful to us, but is daily more and more destroyed 
until our death." 

For this reason no one should be terrified if he feel evil 
lust or love, nor should he despair even if he fall, but he 
should remember his baptism, and comfort himself joy- 
fully with it, since God has there botmd Himsdf to slay 
his sin for him, and not to count it a cause for ccmdemna- 
tion, if only he does not consent to sin or remain in sin. 
Moreover, these wild thoughts and appetites, and even a 
fall into sin, should not be regarded as an occasicm for 
despair, but rather as a warning from God that man should 
remember his b^tism and what was there qmken, that he 
should call upon God's mercy, and exercise himself in striv- 
ing against sin, that he should even be desirous of death 
in order that he may be rid of sin. 

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Treatlie on Bcptism 63 

Xn. Here, then, is the place to discuss the thiid thing ^^ 
in the sacrament, i. e., faith, to wit, that a man should Faith 
firmly believe all this; viz., that this sacrament not only 
signifies death and the resurrection at the Last Day, by 
which man is made new for an everlasting, sinless life; but 
also that it assuredly begins and effects this, and unites 
us with God, so that we have the will to slay sin, even till 
the time of our death, and to fight against it; on the other 
hand, that it is His will to be merciful to us, to deal gra- 
ciously with us, and not to judge us with severity, because 
we are not sinless in this life until purified through death. 
Tims you understand bow a man becomes in baptism guilt- 
less, pure and sinless, and yet continues full of evil in- 
clinations, 90 that he is called pure only because he has be- 
gun to be pure, and has a sign and covenant of this purity, 
and is always to become more pure. Because of this God 
will not count against him the impurity which still cleaves 
to him, and, therefore, he is pure rather through the gracious 
imputation of God than through anything in his own na- 
ture; as the Prophet says in Psalm xxxii, "Blessed is he Pi-jjuf. 
whose transgression is for^ven; blessed is the man imto 
whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." 

This faith is of all thin^ the most necessary, for it is the 
ground of all comfort. He who has not this faith must 
despair in his sins. For the sin whidi remains after bap- 
tism makes it impossible for any good works to be pure 
before God. For this reason we must hold boldly and fear- 
lessly to our baptism, and hold it up against all sins and 
terrors of conscience, and humbly say, "I know full well 
that I have not a angle work which is pure, but I am bap- 
tised, and through my baptism God, Who cannot lie, has 
boimd Himself in a covenant with me, not to count my an 
t me, but to slay it and blot it out." 

Xm. So, then, we imderstand that the innocrace which 
is ours by bf^tism is so called simply and solely because of 
the mercy ot God, which has begun this work in us, bears 


64 Treatise on B^tism 

patientiy with sin, and regards us as though we were sin- 
less, liiis also explains why Christians are called in the 
^ s- Scriptures the children of mercy, a people of grace, and men 
"' ' of God's good-will. It is because in baptism they have be- 
i;i4 gun to become piu«, and by God's mercy are not condemned 
with their sins that still remain, until, through death and 
at the Last Day, they become wholly pure, as the sign of 
bfq)tism shows. 

Therefore they greatly err who think tliat through b^>- 
tism th^ have become wholly pure. They go about in 
thdr unwisdom, and do not slay thdr sin; they will not ad- 
mit that it is sin; they persist in it, and so they make their 
b^tism of no effect; they remain entangled in certain out- 
vaid works, and meanwhile pride, hatred, and oth^ evils 
of their nature are disregarded and grow worse and worse. 
Nay, not sol Sin and evil inclination must be recognized 
as truly sin; that it does not harm us is to be ascribed to the 
grace of God, Who will not count it against us if only we 
strive against it in many trials, works, -and sufferings, and 
slay it at last in death. To them who do this not, God will 
not forgive their ans, because they do not live according 
to their baptism and covenant, and hinder the work which 
God and their baptism have begun. 

^ XIV. Of this sort are they also who think to blot out and 
put away their sin by "satisfaction,"^ and even regard their 
baptism Lightly, as though they had no more need of it after 
they had been baptised,' and do not know that it is in force 
all through life, even until death, nay, evMi at the Last 
Day, as was said above.* For this cause they think to find 
some other way of blotting out sin, viz., their own works; 
and so they make, for themselves and for all others, evil, 
terrified, uncertain consciences, and despair in the hour of 
death; and they know not how they stand with God, think- 

' Good mxti pcocribed at "pauaett" upon coofeHioa to tbe piiett. 
* UUnlly, "lifted up out of it." See above, p. S7, BOtt i. 

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Traatlie od Bqitlim 65 

ing that by ^ they have lost their baptism and that it 
jHofits them no more. 

Guard yom^elf, by all means, against this eitor. For, 
as has been sud, if any one has fallen into an, he should 
the more remember his baptism, and how God has there 
made a covenant with him to forgive all his sins, if only he 
has the will to fight against them, even until death. Upon 
this truth, upon this alliance with God, a man must joy- 
fully dare to rely, and then baptism goes again into (q>era- 
tion and effect, his heart becomes f^ain peaceful and glad, 
not in his own work or "satisfaction," but in God's m^cy, 
pitHniaed him in bi^tism, and to be hdd fast forever. This 
faith a man must hold so firmly that he would cling to it 
even though all creatures and fdl sins attacked him, since 
he who lets himself be forced away from it makes God a 
liar in His covenant, the sacrament of b^tism. 

XV. It is this faith that the devil most attacks. If he ■ 
overthrows it, he has won the battle. For the sacrament of 
penance also (of which we have already spoken)' has its 
foundation in this sacrament, since sins are forgiven only 
to those who are baptised, i. e., to those whose sins God has 
promised to forgive. The sacrament of penance thus 
renews and points out again the sacrament of baptism, as 
thou^ the priest, in the absolution, were to say, 'Txi, 
God hath now forgiven thee thy sin, as He long since bath 
promised thee in b^tism, and as He hath now commanded 
me, by the power of the keys,* and now thou comest again 
into that whidi thy baptism does and is. Believe, and 
thou hast it; doubt, and thou art lost." So we find that 
through sin baptism is, indeed, hindered in its work, i. e., 
in the forgiveness and the slaying of sin; yet only by 
unbelief in its operation is baptism brought to naught. 

■ Lather ben nfen totate Treatiie on the Sacrament ot Pen- 
ance, irtiich wai pubUahed juit before tbe prcMul treatise on baptim, in 1519. 
See W e i m a r Zd . ,U.,Dp. 709 B tad p. 714- 

' The power to foriive aikd to retain lin, belonging, according to Roman '"'•>''"gi 

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66 Treatise on Bapttom 

Faith, in turn, removes the hindrance to the (^leration at 
baptism. So much depends on faith. 

To speak quite plainly, it is one thing to forgive sins, 
and another thing to put them away or drive Uiem out. 
Hie forgiveness of sins is obtained by faith, even though they 
are not entirely driven out; but to drive out sins is to ex- 
ercise ourselves against them, and at last it is to die; for 
in death sin perishes utterly. But both the forgiveness and 
the driving out of sins are the work of baptism. Thus the 
Apostle writes to the Hebrews, who were baptised, and 
whose sins were forgiven, that they shall lay aside the sin 
which doth beset them. For so long as I believe that 
God is willing not to count my sins against me, my bap- 
tism is in force and my sins are forgiven, though they may 
still, in a great measure, remain. After that follows the 
driving out of my sins through sufferings, death, etc. This 
b what we confess in the article [of the Creed], "I believe 
in the Holy Ghost, the forgiveness of sins, etc." Here 
there is special reference to baptism, for in it the forgive- 
ness takes pla<» through God's covenant with us; theref<»e 
we must not doubt this for^veness. 

XVI. It follows, therefore, that baptism makes all suffer- 
ii^, and especially death, profitable and helpful, since these 
things can only serve baptism in the doing of its wwk, 
i. e., in the slaying of an. For he who would fulfil the 
work and purpose of his b^tism and be rid of dn, must die. 
It cannot be otherwise. Sin, however, does not like to die, 
and for this reascm it makes death so bitter and so horrible. 
Such is the grace and power of God that da, which has 
brought death, is driven out again by its own woik, viz., 
by death.' 

You find many people who wish to live in order that they 
may become rif^teous, and who say that they would like 
to be righteous. Now there is no shorter way or b 

oUtUn, Put n. ch. ni bdMT, p|i. i4d c 

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Treatise on Baptism 67 

tlian through bi^tism and the work of bt^tism, i. e., 
through suSeiing and death, and so long as they are not 
wiUiE^ to take this way, it is a sign that they do not rightly 
intend or know how to become righteous. Therefore God 
has instituted many estates in life in wliich men are to 
leam to exerdse themselves and to suffer. To some He- 
has commanded the estate of matrimony, to others the es- 
tate of the clergy, to others, again, the estate of the rulers, 
and to aU He has commanded that they shall toil and labor 
to kill the flesh and accustom it to death, because for all 
such as are bapUsed their baptism has made the repose, 
the ease, the plenty of this life a very poison, and a hin- 
drance to its work. For in these things no one learns to 
suffer, to die with gladness, to get rid of sin, and to live in 
accordance with baptism; but instead of these things there 
grows love of this life and horror of eternal life, fear of death 
and urwillingness to blot out sin. 

XVn. Now behold the lives of meni Many there are BapttMo 
who fast and pray and go on pilgrimage and exerdse them- q^^ 
selves in such things, thinking thereby only to heap up Wmki 
merit, and to sit down in the hig^ places of heaven. But 
fasting and all such exercises should be directed toward 
holding down the old Adam, the sinful nature, and accus- 
toming it to do without all that is pleasing for this life, and 
thus daily preparing it more and more for death,so that the 
work andpurposeofbaptismmay be fulfilled. And all these 
exercises and toils are to be measured, not by their ntmaber 
or their greatness, but by the demands of baptism; that is 
to say, eadi man is to take upon him so much of these 
worits as is good and profitable for the suppressing of bis 
nuful nature and for fitting it for death, and is to increase 
or HiTninisti them according as he sees that sin increases or 
decreases. As it is, they go their heedless way, take upon 
themselves this, that, and the other task, do now this, now 
that, according to the appearance or the reputation of the 
work, and again quickly leave off, and thus become alto- 

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68 Treatise oo Baptism 

gether inconstant, till in the end they amount to nothing; 
nay, some of them so rack their brains over the whole 
thing, and so abuse nature, that they are of no use either 
to themselves or others. 

All this is the fruit of that doctrine with whidi we have 
been so possessed as to think that after repentance or bap- 
tism we are without sin, and that our good wotks are to 
be heaped up, not for the blotting out of sin, but for their 
own sake, or as a satisfaction for ^na already done. This 
is encoiiraged by those preachers who preach unwisely the 
legends and works of the blessed Saints, and make of them 
examples for all. The ignorant fall eagerly upon these 
things, and work their own destruction out of tbe examples 
of the Saints. God has given every saint a special way and 
a special grace by whidi to live according to his baptism. 
But baptism and its significance He has set as a common 
standard for all men, so that every man is to examine him- 
self according to his station in life, to find what is the best 
way for him to fulfil the work and purpose of his baptism, 

Uitt. i. e., to slay sin and to die. Hen Christ's burden grows 
"''** light and easy, and it is not carried with worry and care, 

Ecci. as Solomon says of it, "The labor of the foolish wearieth 
"'" every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the 
city." For even as they are worried who wish to go to the 
city and cannot find the way, so it is with these men; all 
their life and labor is a burden to them, and yet thqr ac- 
complish nothing. 

?bJ*^ XVm, In this place, then, belongs the question whetber 
Uin am: baptism and the vow which we there make to God, is some- 
°'''"' thing more or something greater than the vows of chastity, 
of the priesthood, of the clergy, since baptism is common 
to all Christians, and it is thought that the clergy have 
taken a special and a higher vow. I answer : From what has 
been said, this is an easy question to answer. For in bap- 
tism we all make one and the same vow, viz., to slay sin 
and to become holy through the work and grace of God, to 

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Treatise <m Baptism 

and in this no one is better than another. But for a life 
in accordance with baptism, i. e., im slaying sin, thete can 
be no one method and no special estate in life. Therefore 
I have said* that each man must prove himself, that he may 
know in what estate he may best slay sin and put a che<^ 
upcm his nature. It is true, then, that there is no vow 
higher, better, or greater than the vow of baptism. What 
more can we promise than to drive out an, to die, to hate 
this life, and to become holy? 

Over and above this vow, a man may, mdeed, bind him- 
self to some special estate, if it seems to him to be suitable 
and helpful for the completion of his baptism. It is just 
as though two men went to the same dty, and the one went 
by the foot-path, the other by the high-way, according as 
each thought best. So he who binds himself to the estate 
of matrimony, walks in the toils and sufferings which belong 
to that estate and lays upon himself its biirdens, in order 
that he may grow used to pleasure and sorrow, avoid sin, 
and prepare himself for death better than be could do 
outside of that estate. But he who seeks more suffering, 
and by much exercise would speedily prepare himself for 
death and soon attain the work of baptism, let him bind 
himself to chastity, or the spiritual order; for the spiritual 
estate,* if it is as it ought to be, should be full of torment and 
suffering, in order that he who belongs to it may have more 
exercise in the work of his baptism than the man who is in 
the estate of matrimony, and throu^ such torment quickly 
grow used to welcome death with joy, and so attain the 
purpose of bis baptism. Now above this estate there is 
another and a higher, that which rules in the spiritual 
order, viz., the estate of bishop, priest, etc. And these men 
should be well practised in sufferings and works, and ready 

» Sm ibim, p. so. 

* See 4bove. p. 67. 

■ Tte "vlritul eMU«" or "tpMRul ofckr" tDdndc* tU tbow who b4T« dcKrted 
the world ukd wDcklly punulti for tbt reU(ioa« Ula. It bdndei monk* ud friu* 
uid num, u wdl u prteeU, etc 

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70 Treatise on Baptism 

at every hour for death, Dot only for their own sake, but for 
the sake of those vbo are their subjects. 

Yet in all these estates the standard, ai which we spoke 
above, should never be forgotten, viz., that a man should 
so exercise himself only to the end that an may be driven 
out, and should not be guided by the number or the great- 
ness of works. But, alasl how we have forgotten our bap- 
tism and what it means, and what vows we made there, 
and that we are to walk in its works and attain its purposel 
So, too, we have forgotten about the ways to that goal, 
and about the estates, and do not know to what end these 
estates were instituted, and how we are in them to keep at 
the fulfilling of our baptism. They have been made a 
gorgeous show, and little more remains of them than worldly 
<» display, as Isaiah says, "Thy silver is become dross, thy 
wine mixed with water." Chi this may God have mercyl 

' XIX. If, then, the holy sacrament of baptism is a thing 
so great, so gracious and full of comfort, we should pay 
earnest heed to thank God for it ceaselessly, joyfully, and 
from the heart, and to give Him praise and honor. For I 
fear that by our thanklessness we have deserved our 
blindness and become unworthy to behold such grace, 
though the whole world was, and still is, full of baptism 
and the grace of God. But we have been led astray in our 
own anxious works, afterwards in indulgences and such like 
false comforts, and have thought that we are not to trust 
God until we are righteous and have made satisfactioQ for 
OUT sin, as though we would buy His grace from Him or 
pay Him for it. In truth, he who does not see in God's 
grace how it bears with him as a sinner, and will make him 
blessed, and who looks forward only to God's judgment, 
that man will never be joyful in God, and can neither love 
nor praise Him. But if we hear and firmly believe that He 
receives us sinners in the covenant of baptism, spaits us, 
and makes us pure from day to day, then our heart must be 

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Treatise on BaptJin 7X 

joyful, and love and praise God. So He says in the Prophet, 

*'I will spare them, as a man spaieth his own son." Where- UaL jny 

fore it is needful that we give thanks to the Blessed Majesty, 

Who shows Himself so gracious and merciful toward us poor 

condemned worms, and magnify and acknowledge His 


XX. At the same time, however, we must have a care ^^* 
that no false security creeps in and says to itself: "Baptism of Paiu 
is so gracious and so great a thing that God will not count ^^ 
our sios against us, and as soon as we turn again from sin, 
everything is right, by virtue of baptism; meanwhile, there- 
fore, I wiU live and do my own will, and afterwards, or when 
about to die, will remember my baptism and remind God of 
His covenant, and then fulfil the work and purpose of my 

Baptism is, indeed, so great a thing that if you turn again 
from sins and appeal to the covenant of baptism, youi ^os 
are forgiven. Only see to it, if you thus wickedly and wan- 
tonly sin, presuming on God's grace, that the judgment 
does not lay hold upon you and anticipate your turning 
back; and beware lest, even if you then desired to believe 
or to trust in your baptism, your trial be, by God's decree, 
80 great that your faith is not able to stand. If they iPm. 
scarcely remain who do do sin or who fall because of sheer *'* 
weakness, where shall your wickedness remain, which has 
tempted and mocked God's grace? 

Letus,therefore, walk with carefulnessand fear, thatwith Epb.s:i5 
a firm faith we may hold fast the riches of God's grace, and 
jc^rfully give thanks to His mercy forever and ever. Amen. 

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Tlw Conff tendl Ratio is Uie culminmtioa of s leriea of tncti put>- 
lilbed by Luther after tlie laemonble October 31st, 1517, uui before hit 
final breach with Rome.* In them is dearly traceable the progress that he 
was making in dealing with the practical problems tiered by the 
confessional, and which had started the mighty conSict in which he 
was engaged. They open to us an in^ght into hi* own conscientious 
cSiMts during the period, when, as a penitent, he was himself endeavor- 
ing to meet every requirement which the Church imposed, In order to 
secure the assurance of the forgiveness of ans, as well as to present 
the questions which as a father confessor and qiiritual adviser he asked 
thote who were under his pastoral care. First of all, we find, therefore, 
tables of duties and ^ns, reminding us of the lists of cardinal sins and cardi- 
nal virtues m which Romkn Catholic books abound. The main effort 
here is to promote the most seatcliing self-ezamination and the most cc»n- 
plete enumeration of the details of sins, since, from the Medieval stand- 
poiat, the com[detencss of the absolution is pn^wttioned to the exhaustive- 
nes* of the coofessicn. Although the first of theK briefer tracts closes with 
its note of warning that the value of the confession is not to be estimated 
by the enumeration of details, but that it rests solely in the resort that is had 

'1. DecetDPtaeceptaWlttebersetisi ptaedicata populo, 
1518, EtI. Ed., op. <z. Iat.,1,118. A urici of senuons eoterinf into man 
miniitc uilyMs oi not. 

1. DiezehenGeboteGotteimltelneikariiQAuilegung 
Ihrer ErfQlluns und Uebertietu ng, Weimar Ed.,I.i47ffi 
ErI. Ed., XXXVI, 145^154- Reduce* raotenUof the Knoons to ■ few pages. 
A brief handbocd^ for use in the confesnonal, first printed in tabular form, living 
a very condetued dposittmi of each commandment, loUawed by ■ catalogue of 
ani prokibEted and virtuei enjoined. Written a month before the publication 
of the Theses, and published the next year. 

3. Initructloptoeonfeiilooepeccatornmabbreviaada 
secundnm dacalogum. Latin form of the above, pobliibed ihortly aftcl 
the ofjginBl. Erl. Ed.,op.«, XII, iio-ijo. 

4.Eori«Uiiterwel(ongwieman belebten toll, Weimar 
Ed., C 57 Si Erl. Ed., XXI, >4S->53, prepared by request of Spalatin, first 
fai LatK and then tnuulated, EBMUn thinks iiy SpaUtin, into Getman. Pub- 
Hsbed 151S. Contains ei^t introductory proportion*, {olloved by lists of tins 

5. Confltendl Rati 
of the preceding Goman tnatlie. Weima 
IV, ts>-i7oi St. Loul* Ed., XIX. TB6-Sa6. 

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76 DiBCOSSiOD n ConfMBon 

to the Brace of God uid the w<Kd of Hii pramiae, the tmuitioQ (nm the 
one mode d thougjit to the otbci is very kmiarait. 

IntbeKurse Untetweisung vie man beichten toll 
ot 1519, of which this is k Latin re-eUlxamtion, and, therefore, inteodcd 
more for the educated Uum 4S a popular preeentation, he has advanced to 
far as to warn against the attempt to make aa exhaustive eaumeratioD of 
sins. He advises that the confession be made in the most general tenns, 
covering sna both known and unknown. "If one would oinfess all mortal 
aina, it may be done in the foUowing words; "Yea, my whole life, and alt that 
I do, act, speak, and think, is such as to be desdiy and condemnable.' For 
if one iq;atd himself as being without mortal lin, this b of all mortal siu 
the most mortal."* Acctwding to this maturer view, the purpose of the 
most searching sclt-examinatiwi is to exhibit the utter impossibility of 
ever fathoming the depth of comiptioo that lies beneath the surface. The 
reader of the Tessaradecaa will recall Luther's statement there, 
that it is of God's great mercy that man b able to see but a very small 
portion of the wn within him, for were he to see it in its full extent, he would 
perish at the sight. The physician need not count every pustule on the 
body to diagnose the disease as small'pox. A glance is cnou^ to deter- 
mine the case. The sins that are discovered are the symptoms of the one 
radical sin that Ilea beneath them all.* The cry is no longer "M e a p e c - 
cata, mea peccata," as though these recognized sins were the 
excepti(xu to a life otherwise without a flaw, but rather, overwhelmed with 
confusion, Uk penitent finds in himsdf nothing but sin, except for wbathehaa 
by God's grace almie. Uoat cleariy docs Luther enforce this in his exposi- 
tion of the Fifty-first Psalm, <rf i53i,a treatise we most earnestly commend 
to those who desire fuller information ooncemiog Luther's doctrine of sin, 
and his conception of the value of coafeason and ahsolutlon. He showi 
that it is not by committing a particular sin that we become annett, 
but that the Hn is committed because our nature is still sinful, and that the 
poisonous tree has grown from roota deqdy imbedded in the sad. W* an 
ainnen not because particular acts ol an have been devised and carried to 
cmnpletion, but bdwe the acts are committed we are sinners; otherwise 
tuch fruits would not have been borne. A bad tree can pow from itothing 
but a bad root.* 

•"Ja, main ganses Leben, nnd alles, da« ich thu. 
handel, red and gedenk, 1st also tcthan, dai ei todlieh 
nnd vordammllch ist." Thew an afanast the word* of the public coo- 
(enioaal paytr in the Klrcbenbnch of the Genoal Council of tbe Lntkrao 
Church in America: "Alio daai all* neine Natnr and Wesen 
Btrltlich und verdammlich iit." 

■ErI. Ed., op. var. arg., IV. 80 14. "SI enlm inom malum 
aentirct. lofernum lentiret, nam Inferaam in se ipi» 
habet." ~ ■■ - 

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Introductioa 77 

In hit Sermon on Confession a.nd the SacTftmentof 1594, 
be discourago habits of morbid seU-introspectioa, and expOMs the per- 
idexiticB produced by the ciactioiis of the confeasiooal In constantly sink- 
ing the probede^ier and deeper into the heart of the already cnished and 
<iuiveriiig penitent. He shows how cme need not look far to find enou^ to 
piwiqtt the confession of utter belplessness and the casting of self unreserv- 
edly upon God's mercy. "Bring to the coafeasioD only those sins that ocxui 
to thee, and say: I am so frail and faUen that I need ccnsolation and good 
connael. For the confession should be brief. . . . No one, therefore, should 
be troubled, even though he have forgotten bis sins. If they be forgotten, 
they are none the less foigiven. For what God coD^ders, is not how thou 
bast confened, but His Word and how thou hast believed."' 

In this is made ptomioent the radical difference between the Roman 
Cathdic and the Lutheran conception (rf confession. In the former, it it 
a part of penance, tbe second of the three dements of "cmtrition," 
"cmfestion," and "satisfaction," an absolute condition of tbe frngivcneM 
of every sin. In the Roman confeasJonal, sins ate treated atomistically. 
Some are for^ven, while others are still to be forgiven. Every sin stands by 
itsdf, aad requires separate treatment No uncmfessed sin is forgiven. 
To be forgivet, a sin must be known and lamented, and confessed in all its 
details and circumstances to tbe priest, who, as a spiritual judge, propw- 
tions the amount of the satisfactioD to be rendered by the penitent to the 
degree of guilt of tbe c^ence, as judged from the facts before him. Thus 
the debt has to be painfully aitdpunctiliously workedoS.sinbyun, a*in the 
financial world a note may be extinguished by successive payments, dollar 
by dollar. Everything, tberefore, u made to depend upon tbe fulness and 
completeneas of the confeinon. It becomes a work, on account of which 
one is forpveo. The abs<dutioa becomes simply the stamp of approval 
that is placed upon the omfesaioa. 

Tbe Lutheran conception is centered vpoa the person of the sinner, rather 
than on his sins. It ia the person who is forgiven his sins. Where the peiaoa 
isforgivenbutonesin, aUhitsiniareforgivai; where the least sin is retained, 
all sins are retained, and none for^ven, for "there is no condemnation to 
them that ate in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). The value of the confession 
lies not in the confession itself, but in that, through this confession, we turn 
to Christ and the word of His prmnise.' 

In Luther's opinion, there are three ^Kcies of confession.* One to 
God, in one's own heart, which is of absolute necessity, and which the 
true believer is always making; a second to our neighbor, when we have 
done him a wrong, which is also of divine command; and, a third to a 

■ErI. Ed. (>ded.). XI. 173. 
* Sec the opening puigraph of this treatise. 

■ErI. Ed., XI, 166. XXIX. jsr-350. Cf, with this, the still fuUer trtatmenl 
imen Concilii Tridentini (PreuneditkiD), 441-413- 

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78 Discusidoii at ConfesBlOQ 

"brother," "whereui we receive from the mouth of th^t brother the word 
of coiuoUtion Mot from God."* TfaUlaitipedes, the verb um sola til 
ei ore frfttris, wbQe not commaitded in Udy Scripture, is com- 
mended becsuM of the gnat value which it has for those who fed the need 
of oHui^tioii, and die initructiotL for which it afFords the opportunity. 
It b only by the IndividualiaJng of the confeasicm tlut the comfort to Ix 
derived by the individualiang of the promise can be obtained. Hence, ■> 
the Augsburg Confessian declares (Article XI.): "Private " [i. e., penoul] 
"confession is retained because of the absolution."' Not that, without 
the absolution, there ii not forgiveness, but that, through it, the one ab- 
solved rtjdces all the m<xt in the possession of that which be possessed 
even before the absolution, and goes forth from it strengthened to meet 
ttnptation because of the new assurance that he has of God's love. This 
form of confession, therefore, instead of being a cmidition of forgiveness, as 
is our inner confession to God, is a privilege of the justified man, wbo, be- 
lon be has made such ctmfessitm, has beoi fiMgiven, and whose sins that 
lie still conceakd from bis knowledge are just as truly forgiven as those ovei 
iriiich he grieves. 

The confesnon, therefore, being entiidy viduntary and a privilege, peni- 
tents are not to be tormented with "the ocean of distinctiiKis" hitherto 
urged, such, e. g., as those between mortal and venial sins, whereof he says 
that "there is no doctor so learned as to draw accurately the distinctitm";* 
■nd between the inner impulses that may arise without the least consent ol 
the will resulting from than, and those to which the will, in varying measure, 
may actually consent. On the ccmtrary, it is not wdl to look too deeply 
into the abyss. When Peter began to count the waves, he was lost; when 
he looked away from them to Jesus, he was saved. Thus, while "the good 
purpose" to amend the life must be innsted upon as an indispensable accom- 
panimoit of every sincen confession, tender ctKudencts may search within 
for such purpose, and be distressed because they cannot find satisfactory 
evidence of its presence. How escdient then the advice of this experienced 
pastM, that thoae thus troubled should [xay for this "purpose" wbtdi Ibey 
cannot detect; for no one can actually pray for such purpote without, in tbs 
prayer, having the very object he is secUng. 

So also be nilea out of the ^ihere <A the confessitm the vitdation of mat- 
ten <d pufdy ecclewaitical regulation. Nothing is to be regarded a an 
except that which n a vicdatioR of one of the Ten Commandmaita. To 
make that a rin which God's law does not make sin, ii only the neit step to 

•BabylonUn Captivity, ErI. Ed. op. var. arg., V, 81. 

■a. AngibuTB Canfeiiion, Art. XXV; Apology in Book of 
Concord, Eniiidi Tramlitian. pfi. 133, its, >B5. i^ 196; Smalcald Ar- 
ticles, UO-3J0; Small Catechism, 371. 

'Sermon vom Sacrament der Busie. Erl. Ed., XX, 190. For 
difinltkB of "mortal and venial," *m lotndoctiaa to XCV TfaM^ abo*^ p. i». 

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^p""*^ Qtt ^"*"'— — of thtt which God hu fotUdda; tot in raising 
ccdesiuticll tcgulatiaill to the lerd of divine rommiuiHi, we lower divine 
^«>wnMiw«« to the levd of ecdeaiaatical regulatiooa. Even Private Coofcs- 
■oo, thcKfore, useful aa it is, lAcn pn^tcdy undentood and piactiied, 
■Dce it rats after all iqxw ccdesiaBtkal rale, b so little to be urged as a mat- 
ter of nectadty that Lutha here defends the niggestion of Gerson, that 
occaaioaally one should go to the Lwd'a Supper without having made coo- 
feaaion, in order thereby to testify tliat ft is in God's mercy and His promise 
that we trust, rather than in the value of any particular outward observance. 
The tiEatmait of "Reserved Cases," with which this tract ends, shows the 
moderation and caution with which Lutliei is moving, hut, at the same time, 
how the new wine is wt^ing in the old bottles, which soon must break. 
The prindi^ <A "the reservatitxi of cases " be discusses In his Address to 
tba Gennan Nobility.' It is criticuwl also in Augsburg Coofession, Article 
JDCVLU, 1, 41; Apology of the Augsbuig ConfesaicQ, En^sh Translation, 
pp. 181, 311. The Roman Catholic dogma is offidally presented in tlie 
DeaecscrfTrent,SesBonXIV,Chaptei7,* vIk., "that certain nxHTatrodou* 
and mote heinous crimes be ahsdved not by all priests, but only by the 
highest {tfiests." Thus the power Is catiKliud in the pope, ind is ddo- 
gated for exercise in ordinary esses to each particulai parish-priest within 
tlte limits by which be is drcumscribed, but no farther.* Hie contrast b 
between del^ated aitd reserved rights. The Protestant principle is that 
aU the power of the Church is In the Word of God which it administers; 
that wherever all the Word is, there also is all the power of the Church; and 
hence that, according to divine tight, all pastors have equal authority. For 
this reason, Lutha here declares tliat in regard to secret sins, i. e., tltoae 
known only to God and the poiitent, no reseivation wltatcver la to be 
admitted. But there is still s distinction which he is ready to concede. 
It has to do with public ofFencca wliere scandal has been given. As "the 
mote fiagtant and mve heinous crhnes," If public, have to do with a widar 
drde tliaa the membcn of a particular parish, the reparation for the i^ence 
should be as exienave as the scandal wliich it lus created. In the Api^ogy, 
Uelancbthon claims that such leservation should be limited to the ecde- 
itfi-ti™' poialties to be biSlcted, but that it had not been Intended to com- 
prise also tlie guilt involved; it waa areservatfo poenae, but not a 
reservatio culpae* Luther suggests the tame bat, but with 

•See VaL O. of tUi editloa. 

■DBNznMU, Enchlifdioa Symbolorom, mc. jSii ScxAit's 
Creed* of Christendom. 

S"As though the Word of God cannot fdcilve dns, except who* powa derived 
Imm the Pope taittt. h." Cmams, EiamenCoDcilii Tiidentini 
(PreoB ed.), p. 456. 

'Apology, p. 111: "Tbora ft a merratlaa of cuonic*! ponithiMtiti; thve b 
aot a II— iitluu of luilt balon God in those who are traly cooverted." 

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So DUcusdon of Crafcwion 

In the same spirit as in his Tnatiae on Baptism, be protests •gainst 
the numerous vows, the binding force of which was a constant subject <d 
treatmait in pastoral dealing with souls. The multiplication of vows had 
caused a depredation of the one all-embraciog vow of baptism. Neverthe- 
less the pope's right to give a dispensation he r^ards as limited entire)]' ts 
such matters as those concerning which God's Word has given no conmiand. 
With matters which concern Mily the relation of the individual to God, the 
Pope's authority is of no avail 

Literature. — Ckzhnhz, Uabtih, Esamen Conctlii Tri- 
dent i n i , 1578 (Preuss edition), 441-456. Steitz, G. E., D t e P r i - 
vstbeicbte und Pri va tabsolu t ion d. lutfa. Kirche 
ftus d. Quellen des XVI. Jahrh., 1854. PnsnxxR, G. P.. 
Lutbcrs Lehre von der Beicbte, 1857. KLtErora, Tb., 
Lit. Abhandlungen, 7: Die Beichte und Absolu- 
tion, i8s6. FiscHEK, E., Zut Geschicbte der evangeU 
iscben Beichte, a vols., 1902-1903. Rietgchkl, G., Lehr- 
buch der Liturgik, vol. a, partiailaily sees. 44, 45, Lu thera 
Auffassung der Beichte and Luthers Auffaisung von 
der Absolution. Koestlim, Julius, Luther's Theology 
(EnglishTranslation),! =357,360,400. Seealso Smalcald Articles, 
Book of Concord (English Ttuulatiou), 316, 899. 



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In this our age, Uie consciences of almost all have heai HMd •( 
led astray by human doctrines into a false trust in their '''^ 
own righteousness and their own works, and knowledge 
about faith and trust in God has almost ceased. Therefore, 
for him who is about to go to confession, it is before all 
things necessary that he should not place his trust in his 
confession — either the confession which he is about to 
make or the confession which he has made — but that, with 
complete fulness of faith, he put his trust only in the most 
gjradous promise of God; to wit, he must be altogether 
certain that He, Who has promised pardon to the man 
who shall confess his sins, will most faithfully fulfil His 
promise. For we are to glory, not because we confess, but 
because He has promised pardon to those who do con- 
fess; that is, not because of the worthiness or sufficiency of 
our confession (for there is no such worthiness or suffi- 
dency), but because of the truth and certitude of His 
promise, as says the xxiv. Psalm: "For Thy Name's sake, F». *s-" 
O Lord, pardon mine iniquity." It does not say, "for my 
sake," or "for my worthiness' sake," or "for my name's 
sake," but "for Thy Name's sake." So it is evident that 
the work of confes^on is nothing else than an occasion by 
which God is called to the fulfilment of His own promise, 
or by which we are trained to beUeve that we shall with- 
out doubt obtain the promise. It is just as if we were to 
say: "Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thy Name give Pmish 
^ory, and rejoice, not because we have blessed Thee, but 

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8a DlBCOBsioii of Confessiui 

bck' because Hiou hast blessed us, as Thou sayest by Ezeldel." 

*"^ Let this be the maimer of our confession, that he who 

glories may glory in the Zx>rd, and may not commend 

himself, but may glorify the grace of God; and it shall 

come to pass that "confession and majesty shall be the 

p». ma work of God."' Psalm ad. 

But God, for the glory of His grace and mercy, has prom- 
* ised pardon. And th^ can be proved from Scripture. 
P*- 3'^ First from Psahn zxxii, "I said, I will confess my trans- 
gressions unto the Lord, and Thou forgavest the iniquity of 
my sin." Then from U. Samuel zii, from which this 
■ Sun. Psalm is taken. David first said, "I have sinned against 
"'*3 the Lord," and Nathan straightway said, "The Lord also 
hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." Again, from 
jcr. iS:8 Jeremiah xviii, "If that nation turn away from their evil, 
I will repent of the evil that I thought to do." Once 
t John more from I. John i, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful 
*^ and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from 
all unrighteousness." Tbe true definiUon of the righteous 
Fm*. man is found in Proverbs xviii, "The righteous man is his 
'*'" own first accuser,"* that is to say, he is righteous because 
he accuses himself. The vetse goes on to say, "His neigh- 
bor (i. e., Christ) cometh and searcheth him," that is. He 
seeketb him, and sufferetb him not to perish ; He will even 
find him and bring him back from the depths of hell. 
jaA.T:i9 Hence Joshua vii. also calls the confessing of sin the 
glorifyii^ of God, saying to Achan, "My son, ^ve glory 
to God, and confess, and tell me what thou hast done." 
St. Jerome ojmments on this passage, "Confession of an 
b praise of God." No wonder! For he who confesses 
his own sins ^>eaks truth; but God is truth; therefore he 

' Luther quotes trom the Vulgite and frequently from mcsioiy, ■ fkct whkb 
■hould >hnyt be remoDlKnd in compMring bii quotetioQs with the text erf SoiptuTc 
■Vul^te, Juitui prior cat accutKtOT. 


DiBCUSSioti of Confesdon ' 83 

also confesses God. Thus Manasseh, King of Judah, 
says in his most beautiful Frayer,> which is most excellentiy 
suited for one who goes to confession, "But Thou, Lord, Tnya of 
according to Thy goodness hast promised repentance 
for the remission of sins, etc." Truly, "according to Thy 
goodness Thou hast promised," for our confession is noth- 
ing tmless the promise of God is sure, and it is altogether 
of His divine goodness that He has promised remission, 
which could not be obtained by any righteousness, imless 
He had given the promise. Thxis faith in that promise is 
the first and supreme necessity for one who is about to go 
to confesaon, lest, perchance, he may presumptuously 
think that by his own diligence, his own memory, his own 
strength, he is provoking God to for^ve his sins. Nay, 
rather it is God Himself Who, with ready forgiveness, will 
anticipate his confession, and allure and provoke him, by 
the goodness of His sweet promise, to accept remis^on and 
to make confesdon. 

Before a man oynfesses to the priest, who is the vicar, TktPnr. 
he ought first to confess to God, Who is the Principal. fsMtar 
But he should regard this matter seriously, since nothing uf*— m 
escapes and nothing deceives the eye of God. Wherefore ,,J^ 
he ought here, without pretence, to ponder his purpose to 
lead a better life and his hatred of sin. For there is scarcely 
anything which deceives more penitents than that subtle 
and profound dissimulation by which they oftoitimes pre- 
tend, even to themselves, a violent hatred of sin and a 
purpose to lead a better life. The unhappy outcome 
proves their insincerity, for after confession they quickly 
return to their natural bent, and, as though relieved of 
the great burden of confession, they live again at ease, 
careless and unmindful of their purpose; by which one 

cd by Luther u ui 

b, Google 

84 Discosdon ci Cmfessioii 

fact they can be convicted of their sad pretending. Where- 
fore a man ought in this matter to be altt^ether frank, 
and to speak of himself vithin himself just as he feels 
himself moved to qieak, just as he could wish to speak 
if there were do punishment, no God, no commandment, 
and just as he would ^>eak in the ear of some familiar 
friend, to whom he would not be ashamed to reveal every- 
thiitg about himself. As he could wish to speak quite freely 
to such a one about his faults, so let him speak to God, 
Who loves us far mote than we love ourselves. 

For if there is any one who does not find himself seriously 
inclined toward a good life, I know not whether it is safe 
for him to make confession. This I do know, that it were 
better for him to stay away from confession. For in this 
matter he need not care for the commandment of the 
Church, whether it excommunicate h itp or inflict some 
lesser punishment. It is better for him not to listen to 
the Church, than, at his own peril, to come to God with a 
false heart. In the latter case he sins against God, in the 
former case only against the Church; if, indeed, he sin 
at all in such a case by not listening to the Church, seeing 
that the Church has no right to command anything in 
which there is peril to the soul, and a case of this kind is 
always excepted from the commandments of the Church. 
For whatever the Church commands, she onnmanda for 
God and for the soul's salvation, presuming that a man is 
capable of receiving her commandment and able to fulfil 
it. If this presumption falls, the precept does not hold, 
taace nothing can be decreed contrary to the command- 
ments of God, which bind the conscience. 

It is certainly to be feared that many ccmie to ccmfes- 
uon out of fear of the commandment of the Church, who 
in their hearts are still pleased with their former evil Ufe. 

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Diaciuiion of Confessioii 

If, however, a man is entangled in these difficulties, Tb*p«r- 
fearing to stay away from confession, and yet perceiving J^JJ^ 
(if the truth were told) that he lacks the disposition toward Uf»— id 
a better life, let him lay hold of the one thing that remains, °**''™'*' 
and hear the counsel of the Prophet, "Pour out your heart p*. 6»a 
before Him"; and let him abase himself, and openly con- 
fess to God the whole evil of his heart, and pray for and 
desire a good purpose. Who, indeed, is so proud as to think 
he does not need this counsel? There is no one whose good 
purpose is as great as it ought to be. Let a man, therefore, 
fearlessly seek from God what he knows he cannot find in 
himself, until the thought of a better life begin seriously 
and truly to please him, and his own life to di^lease him. 
For the doctrines about the forming of a good purpose, 
which have been handed down to us and are everywhere 
taught, are not to be understood in the sense that a man 
should of himself fonn and work out this good purpose. 
Such an imderstanding is death and perdition; as one 
says, "There is death in the pot, O man of God." And > Kinf* 
yet very many are grievously tormented by this idea, ** 
because they are taught to strive after the impossible. 
But in very despair, and pouring out his heart before God, 
a man should say, "Lord God, I have not what I ought to 
^ave, and cannot do what I ought to do. Give what 
Thou conmiandest, and coromand what Thou wilt." For 
thus St. Augustine prays in his Omfesdons.' 

But what has been said about a good purpose, I wish ThvPur- 
to have understood with caution. For a good purpose f^tttlr 
ou^t to be twofold. First, a purpose with regard to !«•— iti 
open, mortal sins, such as adultery, homicide, fornication, **""• 
theft, robbery, usury, slander, etc. The purpose to avoid 


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86 Discusiton of Confessioa 

these sns belongs properly to sacramental Confession, and 
to confession before God it belongs at any mconent after 
the ^ns have been committed; according to the word of 
Ecclesiasticus, "My son, hast thou sinned? Do so no 
more, but ask pardon for thy former sins," and again, 
"Make no tarrying to turn to the Lord." In the second 
place, however, as regards aU the ^ns they call "venial" 
(of which more below), it is entirely vain to labor after the 
forming of a good purpose, because if one rightly in- 
siders himself, he will find such a purpose altogether impos- 
sible, if be wishes henceforth to live in the flesh; since 
(as Augustine says) this life cannot be lived without such 
sins as unnecessary and thoughtless lau^ter, language, 
imagioations, sights, sounds, etc. As regards such things 
it b uncertain whether they are sins, or temptations by 
which merit is increased. And yet it is marvelous how a 
patent is vexed and worried in these matters by the 
present wordy manner of confessing. A purpose ought to 
be certain, and directed toward things whidi are certain 
and which can be shunned in common living, like the 
aforesaid open, mortal sins. 

HiddM Whether the hidden sins of the heart, which are known 

AtaTbm '^^Y ^ ^^^ ^^'^ ^^ °*^° ^^^ commits them, belong to 

to b« sacramental confession or not, is more than I can say. 

^^j I should prefer to say that they do not. For the need 

of confessing these ^ns can in no way be proved, either 

by reason or by Scripture, and I have often suspected that 

it was all an invention of avaricious or curious or tyrannical 

prelates, who took this way of bringing the people of 

Christ to fear them. This is, in my opinion, laying hands 

on the judgment of God and is a violation of the rights of 

God, especially if men are foKed to it.' 

Here comes in that whole sea of laws and impossible 


DiBCOsrion of CtmfeSBioii 87 

questions about "cases of sin,"* etc., since it is impossible 
for a man to know when he has in bis heart committed the 
mortal sins of pride, \vs>t, or envy. Nay, how can the 
priest know this, when he is set in judgment upon mortal 
sins alone? Can he know another's heart 11^0 does not 
thoroi^hly know bis own? Hence it comes that many 
pei^le confess many things, not knowing irtiethei they are 
sins or not; and to this they are driven by that sentence of 
Gr^ory, "A good mind will confess guilt even where there 
is DO guilt." They [i. e., the priests] wish that what is 
offered to God shall be offered to themselves — so immense 
is the arrogance of priests and pontiffs, and so haughty 
the pride of the Pharisees — and they do not see, meanwhile, 
that if this offering were made to man, the whole of life 
would be nothing else than confession, and that even this 
confession would have to be confessed in another confes- 
^on by the man who fears guilt wh^e there is no guilt, 
since even good works are not without guilt, and Job is J<ib»:a 
afraid of all his works. 

Let some one else, then, explain this. I am omtent with mddM 
this, that not all the sins of the heart are to be confessed. ^^ 
But if some are to be confessed, I say that it is only those mM»a 
which a man clearly knows that he has purposed in his ^^ 
heart against the commandments of God;* not, therefore, beCw . 
mere thoughts about a virgin or a woman, nor, on the '*"^' 
other hand, the thou^ts of a woman about a youth, nor 
the affections or ardor of lust, that is to say, the inclina- 
tions of the one sex toward the other, however unseemly, 
nor, I would add, even passions of this sort; for these 
thou^ts are ftequoitly passions inspired by the flesh, the 
world, or the devil, which the soul is compelled unwillingly 
to bear, sometimes for a long while, even for a whole day, 

* The iKtHai "sdoux ol CMutotry," by wfaSdi tlw monl valne of an ict b d»- 
tcnnincd mkI the enct degcce o[ guilt UUcbiDS to ft given do b ettiBUtcd. 
*Cf. Small CatcchUm, "0( Confesrion," Qiki. "WIiU doi «u^ we to 

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88 I>i8cn88io& of Confestion 

or a week ; as the apostle Paul confesses of bis thom id the 

The consequence of all this is that a purpose to avoid 
these things is impos^ble and vain and deceitful, for the 
inclinations and desires <^ the sexes for one another do not 
cease so long as occasion is ^ven them, and the devil is 
not quiet, and out whole nature is ^. But those who 
wish to be without sin and who beheve that man is sound 
and whole, erect these crosses for us that we may not cease 
to confess (even to the priest) what things soever tickle us 
never so Uttle. Therefore, if these hidden things of the 
heart ought to be confessed at all, only those things should 
be confessed which involve full consent to the deed; and 
such things happen very rarely or never to those vbo 
wish to Irad pious lives, even though they are omstantty 
d by desires and pasmoos. 


HMtd At this place we should also speak of that race of auda- 

^.i dous theologians who are bom to the end that the true fear 

8tai of God may be extinguished in human hearts, and that 

they may smite the whole world with false terrors. It 

mi^t seem that Christ was q>eaking of them when he told 

Lake of "terrors from heaven." These are the men who have 

"JV undertaken to distinguish for us between mortal and venial 

sin. When men have heard that a certain sin is vmial, 

they are careless and wholly leave off fearing God, as if 

He counted a venial sin for naught; again, if they have 

heard that the consent of the heart is a mortal sin, and if 

they have failed to listen to the precepts of the Church, or 

have committed some other trifling offence, there is no 

place in their hearts for Christ, because of the confusion 

11:15 m^c by the roaring sea of a troubled conscience. 

Against these teachers it should be known that a man 
ought to give up in despair the idea that he can ever con- 
fess all his mortal sins, and that the doctrine which is con- 

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Diacussion of Ctmfession 89 

tained in the Decretals' and is current in the Church, to 
wit, that every Christian should once in a year make con- 
fession of all his sins (so the words run), is either a devilish 
and most murderous doctrine, or else is sorely in need of a 
loose interpretation. 

Not all uns, I say, dther mortal or venial, are to be con- 
fessed, but it should be known that after a man has used all 
diligence in confessing, he has yet confessed only the smaller 
part of his ^ns. How do we know this? Because the 
Scripture says, "Cleanse Thou me from hidden sins, p*- io:>* 
Lord." These hidden sins God alone knows. And again 
it says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God." Even this f*- 51:10 
holy prc^het confesses that his heart b unclean. And 
all the holy Church prays, "Thy will be done"; and thus Uatteite 
confesses that she does not do the will of God, and is her- 
self a anner. 

Furthermore, we are so far from being able to know or ^^ 
confess all the mortal ans that even our good works are tn siw 
damnable and mortal, if God were to judge with strictness, J*^?^ 
and not to receive them with forgiving mercy . If, therefore, 
all mortal sins are to be confessed, it can be done in a brief 
word, by sayii^ at once, "Behold, all that I am, my life, all 
that I do and say, is such that it is mortal and damnable"; 
according to what is written in the czliii. Psalm, "Ejiter p*- >43:* 
not into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight 
shall no fiesh living be justified"; and in the Epistle to the 
Romans, Ch^ter vii, "But I am carnal, sold imder sin; Roin.r:t4. 
I know that in my flesh dwelleth no good thii^; the evil '^ *** 
that I would not, that I do, etc." 

But of all mortal sins, this is the most mortal, not to be- 
lieve that we are hateful in the sight of God because of 
damnable and mortal sin. To such madness these theolo- 
gians, with this rule of theirs, strive zealously and per- 
niciously to drag the consdeaces of men, by teaching that 

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90 Dlacnssion of Confendoo 

venial sins are to be distinguished from mortal Bins, and 
that according to their ovn fashion. For we read in Augus- 
tine, Cyprian, and other Fathers that those things which 
are bound and loosed are not mortal sins, but criminal 
offences, i. e., those acts of which men can be accused and 

Theiefore, by the term "all rins" in the Decretal we 
should understand those things of which a man is accused, 
either by others or by his own conscience. By "con- 
science" I mean a right conscience, not a conscience 
seared and deformed by human traditions, but a conscience 
which is expert in the commandments of God, and which 
knows that much more is to be left solely to the goodness of 
God than is to be committed to its own diligence. 

But what if the devil, when a man is dying, raises the 
obstacle of sins which have not been confe^ed, as we read 
in many of the stories?* I answer. Let these sins go altmg 

F*. 19:1* with those of which it is said, "Who can understand his 
faults?" and with those others of which it is written, 

Pi. 143:* "Enter not into judgment with Thy servant." What- 
ever stories have beoi made up contrary to these sayings, 
have either been invented under some devilish deluaon, or 
are not rightly understood. It is enough that thou hast 
had the will to confess all things, if thou hadst known them 
or hadst been able. God wills that His mercy be glorified. 
But how? In our righteousness? Nay, in our sins and 
miseries. The Scriptures should be esteemed more highly 
than any stories. 

DiMiBc- By thus getting down to the thing itself,* the penitent, 
^^^„,„ of whom I have so often spoken, does away entirely with 
aiaa that riot of distinctions; to wit, whether he has committed 

■ting the doctrines o( the Chutch were the favorite cootmti 

of tlw termoai in Luther't d*y. Vtrioo* ooUectioii* of tbeta edi^inc Iceadt 
uc itill citaDL Cf. p. 114, utd note. 
' L e.. By fhinkhtg of the nature of cc 

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Discusdon of Confesiioo 91 

jHH by fear humbling him to evil, or by love inflnTntng him 
to evil; what sins he has conunitted against the three 
theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity; what sins 
against the four cardinal virtues; what sins by the five 
senses; what of the seven mortal sins, what against the 
eeven sacraments, what against the seven gifts of the Holy 
Spirit, what i^;ainst the eight beatitudes, what of the nine 
peccata aliena, what agaiost the twelve Articles of 
Faith, what of the silent sins, what of the sins crying to 
heaven; or whether be has sinned by or against anything 
else.' That hateful and wearisome catalogue of distinc- 
tions is altogether usdess, nay, it is altogether harmful. 
Some have added to these evils a most troublesome business 
of "circumstances." 

By all this they have produced two results. First, the 
penitent makes so much of these trifles that he is not able 
really to give heed to thethingof chief importance, namely, 
the desire for a better life. He is compelled to tax Us 
memory with such a mass of details, and so to fill his heart 
with the business of rightly expressing his cares and anxie- 
ties, while seeking out forgotten sins or a way of confesang 
them, that he entirely loses the present pangs of con- 
science, and the whole profit and salutary effect of confes- 
sion. When he is absolved, therefore, he rejoices not so 
much because he is absolved, as because he has freed him- 
self once for all from the wretched worry of confession; for 
what he has been seeking has been not the absolution, but 
rather the ^d of the laborious nuisance of confessing. 
Thus, while we sleep secure, everything is upset again. 
In the second place, such penitents weary the confessor, 
stealing hia time, and standing in the way of other [>eni- 

We ought, therefore, to look briefly at the Command- 
ments of God, in which, if they are rightly understood, all 

' The reader of tliia mlDate cbwitcttiOD of liia, which could be dnplioted 
out of almost taj maoual o( caiuiiby, may Judge tor hinuell whedier Luther 
wai cKTCtt in calUsf It a "riot of <£ ' 

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93 Discussioa of CmfMSum 

Tka ^ns are, without doubt, contaiaed.' And not even all of 
^.,rf. these are to be considered, but the last two Command- 
Manta k ments are to be excluded aitirely from ojnfession. Gon- 
dii^ fession should be brief, and should be a confession chiefly 
rim of those sins which cause pain at the time of confession, 
and, as they say, "move to confession." For the sacrament 
of confession was instituted for the quieting, not for the 
disturbing, of the conscience. 

For example, as regards the Commandment, "Thou shalt 
not commit adultery," let the penitent quickly say in what 
manner be has given place to lust, either in act or word, or 
by consent, just as though be were describing himself en- 
tirely, with all his limbs and senses, in that Commandment. 
Why, then, should he uselessly bring in the five senses, the 
mortal sins, and the rest of that ocean of distinctions? So 
in the case of the Cwnmandment, "Thou shalt not kill." 
Let him quickly say by what kind of wrath he has ^imed, 
whether by hatred, Zander or cursing, or by the act of 
murder itsdf . And so with the rest ; as I have tried to show 
in my Preceptorium and my writings tax the 

Let it not disturb anyone that in the Decretals on Pen- 
ance and in the IV. Book of the Sentences* this matter is 
differently treated. For they all are full of himian inven- 
tions; and no wonder! Th^r have taken everything they 
say out of a certain apocryphal and unlearned book called 
De vera et falsa poenitentia,* which is 
widely circulated, and ascribed, by a lying title, to St. 

I Lnthci steadily nuinUlned that tb« Tea CommsodmenU were > comidete 
guide to boly liviiis and that erecy possible sin ia prohibited lomewheTe in tbe 
DecaloKue. See, beside tbe various inuller IreitiMS <K u ri e U D t e rweiiaog 
wiemaDbelcbtenioll (1518), Eurte Farm deriehn Gebote 
(l5w), etc.), tiie large Discourse od Good Worki, below, pp. 184 S. 

*Tbe writiiigs mentioDed vc iound in the Weimar Ed., Vol tpp- ^sott. 
158 fi, J08 0. See above, p. 75, note 1. 

* The Sentencesof Peter tbe Lombard ma tbe standard text-book of Ifcdl- 
Kvat tbeology. 

' "On True and Fabe Pcnitenoe," now univcmlly admitted not to have been 
mitten by St. Augustine, b« pMriag under bit name till aft« tbe RdonnBtioo. 

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DteMilaa tf Conf esdm 


In making confes^on diluents should be used to dis- ^' 
tiaguish with great care between sins cotmnitted against maati e( 
the Commandments of God and sins committed against the ?^L^ 
statutes of men. I say this because of the mad opinion, 
which is now prevalent, that sins which are committed 
against the decretals of the popes are to be noted with 
wondrous care, but sins committed against God, with little 
or none. 

Let me pve you some illustrations: 

You will find priests and monks who are horrified, as 
at some prodigy, if they stammer, or repeat even a syllable 
in the Canon of the Mass,' though this may be a natural 
defect of the tongue, or an accident, and is not a sin. 
Again, there is no priest who does not confess that he was 
distracted, or failed to read his Preparatoria, or 
other old-womanish trifles of the kind. There was one 
who, even when he was at the altar celebrating, called a 
priest three times and confessed that something had hap- 
pened. Indeed, I have seen these endless jests of the devil 
takMi by many so seriously that they almost lost their 
minds. And yet the fact that they cherished hatred or 
envy in their hearts, that they had cursed before or after 
Mass, that they had intentionally lied or slandered, all 
this moved them not at all. Whence this perversity? 
From the "traditions of men who turn from ihe truth," Tit. 1:14 
as the Apostle says. Because we have neglected to offer 
God a confession of true sins, He has given us up to our Rmii.i:>4 
reprobate sense, so that we delude ourselves with fictitious 
sins and deprive ourselves of the benefit of the sacrament,* n* 
and the more we seem to seek it, the more this is true. 2?ftS' 

Of this stuff are those who make the n^lect of the ca- aaacM 

' Tlut put of the Htnigy ol One Him fn vUeh the mlncalow tnadonnatloa at 
le deoKnti bio tbe Body ud Blood of Cbritt i« bdleved to take pUce. 
' i. «., Of the ■ 

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noDJcal hours' an almost iiremissible sin, while they easily 
remit fornication, which is against the commandments of 
God, or the neglect of duty toward our neighbor. These 
are they who so approve of that dream or stoiy about St. 
Severinus* that they think they cannot read their Hours in 
advance, or afterward make them up without an, even if 
they have been hindered at the proper time by the most 
just cause, such as ministering to the necesaties of a neigh- 
bor, which is of six hundred times more merit than their 
worthless and all but damnable prayers. So far do they 
go in their failure to observe that the commandment of 
God, in the service of one's neighbor, should be preferred 
to the commandment of men, in the -thoughtless mumbling 
of the words of the Hours. To this class too belong those 
iriio think it a crime to ^>eak or to call a boy during the 
Canon of the Mass even in case of the greatest necessity 
or danger. Finally, these men make the fasting of nature 
one thing, and the fasting of the Church another thing, 
and if one has thoughtlessly swallowed some drops of 
liquid, or has taken some medicine, they exclude him utterly 
from the saxxament, and make it a sin, even the very great- 
est sin. I wonder whence these men have the authority to 
set up such laws as these and to trouble consciences with 
sins of their own invention. By these illustrations other, 
similar cases may be judged. 

Of the laity, one confesses that he has tasted sweets, 
another that he has listened to jests, smelted perfumes, 
touched things that were soft. 

Let us come to greater things I The common pet^le 
are persuaded that to eat butter or eggs on fast-days is 
heretical; so cruelly do the laws of men rave in the Church 
of Godl And we imconcemedly profit by this supersti- 
tion of the people, nay, by this tyranny of oiirs, caring noth- 

'TIw fixed honn of daily pnyer obsoved in the nnusterks, kftennid tniUed 
to the titurgy (w tliese aeivicts, vii., the Breviuy. The daily R*din< ik tU* 
breviary at the apptunted houn la required of all the dagy. 

■Ad Italian m^ d. 481, noted tot tbe Utktiie« and teverity of bb aacctk 

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Diacosslon of Conf esston OS 

ing that the commandinents of God are taken in jest, so 
long as men tremble and turn pale at our laws. No one 
calls an adultoer a heretic; fornication is a light sin; 
schisms and discords, inspired, preserved and increased 
by the authority and in the name of the Church, are merits; 
but to eat meat on Friday is the sum of all here^es. Thus 
we teach the people of Christ, and permit them to be taught ! 
But I am disgusted, wearied, shamed, distressed at the 
endless chaos of superstitions which has been inflicted 
upon this most salutary sacrament of confession by the ig- 
norance of true theology, which has been its own tyrant 
ever auce the time that men have been making its laws. 

I advise, therefore, as John Gerson' used to advise, that com- 
a man shall now and then go to the altar or to the Sacra- ^^^ 
ment "with a scruple of conscience," that is, without con- Conf**- 
fes^on, even if he has been immoderate in drinking, talk- "^ 
ing, or slequng, or has done something else that is wrong, 
or has not prayed a single one of the Hours. Would you 
know why this advice is given? Listen I It is in order that 
a man may learn to trust more in the mercy of God than in 
his own confession or in his own diligence. For enough 
cannot be done toward shaking that accursed trust in 
our own works. It should be done for this reason, too, that 
if a man is assailed by some necessity, whether temptation 
or death, and those hidden sins begin to i^pear which he 
has never been able to see or to confess, then he may have, 
ready and prepared, a practice of trusting in the mercy 
whidi God offers to the unworthy; according to the word, 
"His heart is prepared to trust in the Lord."* How shall P». n-t 
a man hope, in the face of the sudden inroads of such a 
great mass of ^ns, if he has not learned in this life, while 
there was time, to hope in the Lord against the smallest, 

* P tp fa Mc in the Univtrdty o( Pvb; cd« of the matt populu aod bmcnn of the 
kter Scholutkx. He died 1439. 
* VntfUc, " C o r eju* pBiktot e*t." 

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96 Disciission of ConfessiQii 

nay, against even an imagined sin? If you say, "What if 
this were de^i^ng the sacrament and tempting God?" 
I answer, It will not be tempting God if it is done for the 
glory (A God; that is, if you do it, not because you despise 
God's sacrament nor because you want to tempt Him (since 
you are ready to make the fullest confession), but only in 
order that you may accustom a troubled conscience to 
trust in God and not to tremble at the rustling of every 
falling leaf. Do not doubt that everything pleases God 
which ifl done to the end that you may have trust in Him, 
since it is all His glory that we trust with our whole heart in 
His mercy. 

I do not wish, however, that a man should always go to 
the altar without confession; but I say that it should be 
done sometimes, and then only for the arousing of trust in 
God and the destroying of trust in our own act of confes- 
sion. For a man will hardly go to mass without guilt, 
if he thinks his forgiveness sure because he has confessed, 
rather than because God is merciful; nay, this is altogether 
I an impiety. The summa summarum'is, "Blessed 
are all they that put tbdr trust in the Lord." When 
you hear this word, "in the Lord," know that he is im- 
blessed who puts his trust in anything whatsoever that is 
not the Lord Himself. And sudi a man those "artists of 
confession" make; for what has the "art of confessii^" 
done except to destroy the art and practice of confiding, 
until at last we have learned to confess a great deal, to con- 
fide not at all. 

In the matter of reserved cases,* many are troubled. 
For my own part, because I know that the laws of moi 
ou^t to be subject to mercy, and be applied with mildness 
rather than wiUi severity, I follow the custom and advice 

' W« would MV. "the whole thing in a nutshell." 

* i. c, Sim for (rincfa Out coafmor wu not allowed to fnnt ■bsointioo witboul 
Kleieoce to aooie fai^Kr Church authority, to lAoM ■bwl uU ao tbqr were "i«- 
Mned." See latiodDctioD, p. 79. 

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Dlacusdon of Coofaadon vj 

d those wbo think that in hidden sins no case is to be re- 
served, and therefore all penitents are to be absolved whose 
sins aie hidden, as are the sins of the flesh, that is to 
say, every fonn of hist, the procuring of abortion, and the 
like. For it should not be presumed that any pope would 
be willing, in matters of hidden sin, to set so many snares 
and dangers for men's souls. But when a sin has been 
public, an open reserved case, it should be left entirely to 
the authorities of the Churdi, no matter whether they 
are just or unjust. In such case, however, the confessor 
may so moderate the power of the keys* as not to let the 
penitent depart without absolution, for those sins at least 
which he knows to be not reserved. Just now, to be 
sure, I am in doubt, and have not yet found a place for the 
proper discussion of it, whether any sin can be reserved, or 
ever is reserved, so far as the remission of guilt* is ccmcemed ; 
that the penalty can be reserved is not doubted; but of this 
let others judge. But even in the remission of the penalty, 
neither the confessor nor the penitent should be too much 
troubled by scruples. The penalty I have especially in 
mind is excommunication, or any other censure of the 
Church — what they call their hghtnings and thunders. 
Since excommimication b only penalty and not guilt, and 
can be laid upon the innocent and allowed to remain upon 
the man who has returned to his senses, and, furthermore, 
since it is sometimes necessary to put off satisfacti(m, be- 
cause of the length of the journey required or because of 
poverty; therefore the penitent who is excommunicated 
or under censure should be absolved from all his sins, if 
he seeks absolution, and be dismissed to the higher authori- 
ties to be loosed from excommunication and to make 
satisfaction. Thus he should be absolved in the judg- 

*Thep(iii«rto"UndaDd loon" (Mmtt. i6:io), Le., to (oti^ and to rcuin do* 
Oohn m:i3>. 

■The Ronu CbmA iliMiiirilihed betmoi thg "cidlt" and the "pcnalQr" of 
•Id. It wu thought pambie to Ibrgive the (onncr tnd nuin tbe bUcr. Submii- 
MOD to tha penalty It "MtUMtkn." See Intraductkn to XCV. Tfaeaaa, 

p. 10. 

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98 DiscoMioii at CeofesiiM 

ment <rf God and of conscience from guilt and sins, and 
sent to the judgment of the Church to be freed frcmi the 
penalty. This is what is meant when it is said that the 
deare to make satisfaction' suffices for the absolving of a 

The subject of vows should also have consideration, for 
it b almost the greatest question involved in this whole 
matter, and gives rise to much more c(Hifusion than does 
the reservation of cases, thou^ this, too, rules its Babylon 
with great tyranny. If one would wish to speak freely 
on this subject, "the land would not be able to bear tJl 
his words," as the impious Amaziah says of Amos. 

Hie first and best plan would be for the pontiffs and 
preachers to dissuade and deter the people from their 
proneness to the making of vows, to show them how the 
vidting of the Holy Land, Rcone, Compostella,* and other 
holy places, as well as zeal in fastings, prayers, and works 
chosen by themselves, are nothing when compared with the 
works commanded by God and the vows which we have 
taken in baptism.* These vows every one can keep in 
his own home by doing his duty toward his naghbors, 
his wife, bis children, his servants, his masters, and thereby 
gain incomparably greater merit than he can find by ful- 
filling vows to do works chosen by himself and not com- 
manded by God. The foolish opinion of the common 
people and the ostentation of the Bulls* have brought it to 
pass that these vows of pilgrimages, fastings, prayers, and 
other works of the kind far outweigh in importance the 

'Volnm satisfactionii. It wu and is the teuliins of the Komut 
Chuidi thit. white the actiul teceptumof uy luniiKnt ii iniponible, the cunot 
deaiie to tecdve It tuffice* (or «»lvatioti. TliEs desiie it ktiowo u the v o t u m 

* In Spain. The ihrltK of St. Jama at that place wa* a fatnou* reiort for [A> 
(rimi. CI. bdow, p. tgi, and note. 

■SeetheTreatiie on the Sacrament of Baptlim, above, pp. 

* Luther doiibtlem refen to the deoeea of the popca by which ^edal tcward* 
WCM attached to mnhip at cettain shtiBM. 

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Dlseusloa ot Coofessioa 99 

mffks of God's Lav, although we never have sufficient 
straigth to do these last works. For my part, I could 
wish that there should not henceforth be aay vows among 
Christian people except those which we take in b^tism, 
and this, indeed, seems formerly to have been the case; and 
I would wish aU to understand what is required of them, 
namely, that they be obedient to the commandments of 
God. For the vows of bi^tism seem to have been alto- 
gether che^iened by the too great practice, parade, dis- 
pensation, and redempti<m of these other vows. Let us 
put all our strength to the task, I say, and we shall find that 
we have vowed in baptism more than we are ever able to 

Some vows, including oaths, are made to men, others to 
God. Those made to men are admitted to be binding, so 
far and so long as he may desire, to whom the vow is made. 
Accordingly, it should be known that, as Gerson correctly 
thinks, the oaths and vows usually taken in the Universi- 
ties or to worldly lords* ought not to be so rigorously re- 
garded that every violation of them should be regarded as 
the breakii^ of a vow or an act of perjury. It is more just 
not to consider vows of this kind broken unless they are 
violated out of o>ntempt and obstinate malice. It is 
otherwise in things that are vowed to God. 

In vows made to God, I see dispensation granted by the J*^ 
pontiffs, but I shall never be persuaded that he is saie to o«4 
whom such a di^^nsation is granted. For such a vow is of 
divine law, and no pontiff, either mediate or supreme, has 
any more authority in this matter than any Christian 
brother, though I blow that certain of the Decretals and 
the Glosses on the Decretals venture many statements about 
it which I do not believe. 

This, however, I would readily believe, that a vow of 
chastity ^en before puberty, neither holds nor binds, 
because he who made the vow was ignorant of what he 

* TV OMh of oficc wd tbe oUh ol alhfluM. 

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xoo Diiciusion of C«nfM8ioa 

was promising, since he had not yet felt the "thorn of the 
flesh." It is my pious opinion that such a vow is counted 
by God as foolish and void, and that the fathers of the 
monasteries should be forbidden by a general edict of the 
Church to receive a man before his twentieth, or at least 
his dghteenth, year, and girls before their fifteenth or six- 
teenth, if we are really concerned about the care of souls. 

- It is also a great piece of boldness, in commuting or remit- 
tmg vows, to impose what they call "a better wcffk." In 
the eyes of God there is no difference in works, and He 
judges works not according to their number or greatness, 
but according to the disposition (tf the doer; moreover, 
"the Lord is the weigher of spirits," as the Scripture says, 
and He often prefers the manual labor of the poor artisan 
to the fasting and prayer of the priest, of which we find an 
illustration in St. Anthony and the shoemaker of Alexan- 
dria.' Since these things aie so, who shall be so bold and pre- 
sumptuous as to commute a vow into some "better work"? 
But these things will have to be spokoi of elsewhere, iot 
here we have undertaken to speak of confession only as it 
concerns the Commandments of God, for the quieting and 
composing of consciences which are troubled by scruples. 

' I shall add but one thii^. There are many who set 
perilous snares for married folk, especially in case of incest; 
and when any one (for these things can h^pen, nay, alas! 
they do happen) has defiled the sister of bis wife, or his 
mother-in-law, or one related to him in any degree of con- 
sanguinity, they at once deprive him of the right to pay the 
debt of matrimony, and nevertheless they suffer him not, 
nay, they forbid him, to desert his wife's bed. What 
monstrous thing is this? What new remedy for sin? 
What sort of satisfaction for sin? Does it not show how 
these tyrants make Jaws for other men's infirmity and in- 
dulge their own? Show me the law-giver, however peni- 

' The iWy ii Kpcated by MeUnchtboa in the Apokiv of the Aogiburt Cod- 
IeMioD.Ch.XIll. Ait.iivii,38 (Book ol C o n c o r d , Enf. Tniu., p. 188). 
Hie "Alemidcr CoaBiiBi" of the test it mltlettdiDgi 

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Discunion of Confesdoa loi 

tent aod chaste, who would allow such slaw to be made 
for himself. Tbey put dry wood on the £cr^''flnd say, Do 
not bum; they put a man in a woman's anta^' and forbid 
him to touch her or know her; and they do this.os'their 
own authority and without the command of God/ -.Wbft^ 
madness! My advice is that the confessor bewarfi'.of.'- 
tyrannical decrees or laws, and confidently sentence V: .-.';- - 
sinner to some other penance, or totally abstain from 
punishing, leaving free to him the right of matrimony 
which h&s been given him not by man, but by God. For 
no angel in heaven, still less any man on earth, has the 
power to enjcnn this penance, which is the burning occa< 
sion of continual sin. Wherefore they are not to be 
heeded who wish such things to be done, and the penitent 
is to be freed from this scruple and peril. 

But who may recount all the tyrannies with which the 
troubled consciences of penitent and confessing Christians 
are daily disturbed, by means of death-bringing "consti- 
tutions" and customs, administered by silly manikins, 
who only know how to bind and place on the shoulders of 
men burdens grievous and heavy to be borne, which they Matt 
thonselves are not willing to move with a finger? So *''* 
this most salutary sacrament of penance has become noth- 
ing else than a mere tyranny of the great, then a disease, 
and a means to the increase of dns. Thus in the end it 
signifies one thing and works another thing for nuserable 
sinners, because priestlings, impious and unlearned in the 
law of the Lord, administer the Church of God, which they 
have filled with their laws and their dreams. 

e original, k jwnphcue ol the woondwl Prayer ol 

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I. When Luther's Electoi, Frederick the Woe (1486-1515), returned to 
hia residence at Tragui, kftcr putkiiwtmg in tbe dection at Emperor 
Charics V, at Frsnkfort-on-tfafr-Main, b the summer of 1519, he was stricken 
with * serious iUnegs, from which thoe seemed little hope of his recoveiy- 
Ccmcemed for his noble patron, and urged by Dr. George Spalatin, his friend 
at court, to prepare a "spiritual consoUtion" for the Elector, Luther wrote 
"The Fourteen of Consolation," one of his finest and tenderest devotional 
writings, and, in conception and execution, one of the most original of aD 
his woriu. 

Its compaeiti(» faJb within the numths of August and September of tbe 
year isig. On August agth, tbe Day of tbe Beheading of St. John Baptist, 
we find him writing in Part T, chapter vi: "Does not the ezan^le of SL 
John Baptist, whom we conimem<»Bte on this day as beheaded by Herod, 
sbame and amaze us all?" On S^tember lad, he sends the con^ileted 
manuscript (in Latin) to Spalatin, requesting him to make a free transla- 
tion of it into German and present it to the Elector. By the end of Novem- 
ber ^talatin had completed his task (one marvels at the leisuieliness of this, 
in view of the serious condition of the Elector; or was the manuscript trans- 
lated and administered jneccmeal to the noble patient?), and eariy in De- 
cember be returned the original, doubtless together with his own transla- 
tion, to Luther, who bad requested its tetum, "in order to comfort himself 

The work was, tbcrefofe, in the strictest sense, a private writing, and not 
in the least intended for publication.' But the importunities of those who 
had seen it, particulariy of Spalatin, prevailed, and cm December i8tb 
Luther writes to the latter that "the Tcssaradecas, m both Latin and 
German, is in the hands of the printer." On February Sth, 1510, he sends 
Spalatin a printed copy of the Latin, and ux days later, one of tbe German 
editiim. The latter contained a dedicatory letter to the Elector, which, 
however, by an oversight of the printer, and owing to Luther's absence at 
the time, was omitted in tbe Latin edition. 

Id 1535, fifteen years after its first a^^earance in print, Lutber issued 
his Teasaradecaa in a new and final edition, adding a brief prefatory note. 
He no Imger holds many of his former views, and there is much in his little 
book that he has outgrown and might now correct. But with cbaracter- 


xo6 The Foorteen of Consolation 

■Stic unconcero, he leti it all stand, and even restores tnany passages that 
had been corrupted or omitted to thdr original fonn. It is a revised edi- 
tion, with the errors, aa ft trete, underscoied It is to be chiefly an historiol 
record, to show the world how far he has profpressed since its first writing 
(i Tim. 4:15), a mile^>ost cm the road of his inner development.' And 
more than this — and here one fandes (me can see the sardonic smile on the 
battle-scarred face — it is to furnish his enemies with weapms against 
himself; be desires to show a favor to the hunten td contradictions in bli 
works, "that they may have whereon to exercise their malice." 

1. The plan of the work is in the bi^wst d^ree original and artificiaL 
The title, Tessaradecss consolatoria, which we have rendered 
"The Fourteen of Consolatitm,"* is nplained by Luther in tbe dedicatory 
epistle h> the Elector, pp. 1 10 fi. The "Fourteen" wen the fourteen patron 
saints of medieval devoticm, called the "Defenders from all evils" (d e f e n - 
■ ores, auiiliatores). Whence tbe cult arose is itot altogether 
certain. It is said to have become popular in Gemumy since the vison 
of a Franconian shepherd, m 1446, to whom there ippcsrad, in the 
fields, the Christ-child surrounded by the fourteen sainta. The V i e r - 
aehnheiligenkirche at Staffdstdn, a famous shrine. for [nlgrims, 
narks the qxit. The names of the "Fourteen," each of whan was a d» 
fender against some particalar disease at danger, are as fdlows: Achatiui 
(Acadus), Ac^dius, Barbara (d. St. Btrbara'sdessXBlasius (tbe"dda>- 
der" of those afflicted with thioM diseases), Catharine (d. St. Catbatine't 
Sower), Christopher (d. St. Christopher's herb), Cyiiacus, Dioaysius, 
Erasmus (Italian: San Elmo; d. St. Elmo's fire), Eustachius, Gewge the 
Martyr (d. Sl George's beib), Margaret, Pantaleon, and Vitus (d. Sl 
Vitus's dance). Luther's Sermons on the First Commandment (1516) 
may be compared lot references to some of these saints and to many others. 

Aa ova against these saints, Luther also invents fourteen defenders or 
comforters, and arranges tbem in this writing in the form d an altar tablet; 
but his is not a tablet such as those found in the churches, r ep r es enting the 
fourteen ddendera, but it is a qiiritual tablet or paintjng, to iqdift and 
strengthen the pious heart of the Elector, and of all others who are wcaiy 
and heavy laden. The first division, M' pand, of this figurative altar-piece 
contains the images or paintings of seven evils (m a I a); the secood, those 
of seven blessinp (bona). The contenqdation of the evils will axufiMt 
the weary and heavy ladoi by showing them bow small their evil is in 
conqjarison with the evil that they have within themselvts, namely, tbeii 
•in; with the evils they have suffered in the past, and will have to suffer in 

' We have noted a few of the note (larii^ rellci ot medirvaHsm in the foot- 
noteil tbe attentlvt reader wQI discovci and dl4Nae of otbcn for himself. 

■The title fundsbei peculiar diScDltia to the ttunlatot. Cole has limplr 
tnnslitented it, "The OauoUtoty TessendecuL" Spaktin paraphiued tt, 
"Ein trastUdis Budiletn," etc The Berfin editloa nnden it, "^^oidin Tioatniti- 

b, Google 

latroductloa 107 

the future; with the evils wbtch others, their bittkda uid foes, sufiet; utd, 
shove all, with tboae which Christ suffered on the cross. Similsrly, the 
oontemplatioo of the blessings will help tbein to forget thdr present su&er- 
Ings; (or they ue ss nothing coropsred with the blessing within them, 
nsjnely, tlidr faith; the blesaugs they enjoyed in the p«at, snd those iliat 
awsit tlien) in the future, ss well as those which arc enjoyed by their friends 
and foes, and, finally, the highest blessing of all, which is Jesus Christ, risen 

We can only conjecture as to the ori^ of this untqiie cmc^tlon of 
laUther's. Of course, tb^ evils and blessings came to ^iw> from the passage 
in Ecdcsiasticus ii:i6.' The nder and amngement may follow smne 
contemporary altariricture of the "Fourteen Saints." There was a famous 
altar-painting of the "Fourteen," by Lucas Cranadi, in St Mary's at 
Torgau, the residence of the Elector. The fact is suggestive.' 

3. The Tessaradecas was tivcxably received by the Elector, was highly 
piaised by Spalstin, who urged its publication, and must have been dear 
In Luther's own heart, since he desired the lEturn of his manuscript for his 
own comfort. The little woA soon became very pc^>ular, and passed through 
numerous editioni, both in Latin and in German. During the first two 
years five Latin editions were printed, and up to 1535 seven German edi- 
ticos. A translation was published in the Netherlands in 1511, and aae in 
England in 1578. Erasmus commended it to Bishc^ Christopher ol Basle, 
in 1513 1 "I am sending your Highness Luther's book of the fourteen [»ctures, 
which has won gieat aptMobation even frcm those who oppose his doctrine 
at every point." Matheaius, Luther's pupil and biographa, judged that 
there had never before been such words of comfort written in the German 
language. The Franciscan Lemmens qieaks of "the beautiful aiKi Catholic 
tbong^ts" in it. 

4. Our titnslatloa b made from the Latin tert, as found in the Wdmat 
Bdition of Luther's works, vcdume vl, with coutiDusl reference to the 
German text, as given In the Berlin editi(UL We regret our inability to ob- 
tain a cof^ of the old English translatioa (A li^t comfortable Treatise 
oooteining sundiye pmntcs of conscdation for them that labour and are 
laden. . . . En^jshed by W. Gscc. T. VautroulUs, London, 157S, 
sec. ed. 15S0), although the form of the title would seem to indicate that 
it was made from Spalatin't translation, and not from the origbal.* 

' Did the ooiuoent of Bemud of Clalivaui, 00 Romans S:i8, pedui» cootributa 
tti quota to the general eonceptioDp "Tbe mSerings of this present Utne tit not 
wottbr to be compand with the put piih, which is fbrgivai (remittitur); 
with the present gntt of consokliaii, «riilcli ii ijven ({ m m 1 1 1 1 1 u r); with the 
tatore skvy. which is pnmiMd (promittita r}." 

' An P«giif>i translatJoo, with-some of the oodasioos that Luther hlnwdf did 
not care to make, I* found in Hxioiv C(H«'s Select Works of Martin 
Lather, vol.11, LoDrton, 1814. 

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loS The Fotuteen of Consolation 

The Duuiy Scriptuie qnotadoiu, aD lutunlly bom the Lfttin VulgUe, 
■nd moM ol them fredy quoted from memory, and sometimes "tugumed" 
and woven iota the texture of the treatise, aie rendered by ui, udIcm the 
•aiae should thereby be affected, b the wotds of the Authorised Vernon. 
Importuit o[ intensting variatioDa are indicated in the footnotes. 

5. The Tesundecas deaerves to be roiHe widely known and used. Its 
value is more than merely that of an historical document, repreaentiiig 
a tranation stage in Luther's reformatory views. It ^ves us, besides this, 
a deep insiKht into the living piety of the man, his great heart so full of the 
peace of God that passeth all undeistanding. When we remember that 
this little work was composed in the midit of a very "tempest" of other 
writings, chiefly polemical (e. g., the savage onslaughts on Emser), it will 
^ipear akin to the little book of Ruth, lying so peacefully between the war- 
like books o[ Judges and First Samuel. At the L^paig Disputation, 
earlier in the same year, Luther was seen to hold a bouquet of Bowers in bis 
hand, and to smell of it i^en the battle waxed hot. The Tessaradecas b 
■uch a bunch of flowers. Itschief gl(«y, however, that of a devottonaldaaaic, 
has been somewhat dimmed by Luther himself, who with the caidesanesa of 
genius refused to revise his outworn view* in it; and yet, desfHte its relics of 
medievalism, particularly by reason of its firm evangelical foundation, its 
scriptural warp and woof, its fervent piety, and its fresh and oripnal treat- 
ment, it is not less entitled to a high place in the devotional and ascetic 
literature of the Churdt than the much better known I m i t a t i o 
C h r i s t i . In this sense it is herewith offered anew to the EngUsb reader, 
with the hope that "the diligent reading and contemi^tioD of these "images' 
may minbter some slight comfort." 

6. liUratnra.— (i) The literary and historical introductions to the 
Tessaradecas in the Wrimar, EHangen, and Berlin editions. (1) Kteiui^ 
KAWBUU,MartinLuther,aeinLebenund sejne Scbriften. 
5th ed., i903,vol. I,pp. iSo, 181. (3) H. Beck, Die Erbauungalit. 
derevang. KErche Deu tschlanda, 1885. (4) On the fourteen De- 
fenders see articles in Wetaer und Wdte and the Catholic Encydc^Msdia, 
and especially the article Not heifer, by ZdcKLEB, in PRE", idiere 
also tee further Uteratuie. 

A. T. W. : 
Allbhtowm, Pa. 

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This book was written, early in my career, for that most 
excellent prince, Frederick, Duke of Saxony, when he was 
stricken with a dangerous illness; but many desired that it 
be printed. After passing through various editions it has 
now become so sadly corrupted and mutilated that many 
passages are missing, whose original form I myself have 
clean forgot However, I have restored the sense of them, 
as well as I was able, taking care to set down only such 
views as I held when the work was first written. I did not 
care to revise them now, as I might well do. For it is my 
purpose in this book to put forth a public record of my 
progress,* and also to show a kindness to the "Contra-^ 
dictionists,"' that they may have whereon to exercise 
their malice. For me it is enough if I please my Lord Christ 
and His saints; that I am bated of the devil and his scales,* 
I rejoice with all my heart, and give thanks to God. 

■ Written by Lutlter for the tut cditkni of 15J5. 

* Compare tbc Preface to the Complete WoAi {1545), pace 11 of thia voliune. 

■ADtilogistae; tbebuDteradcontradictiOfiSMidiiiooDaiteDcieaiD Luther'* 
writinga, auch as John Fabcr, who pub l iihed, in 15J0, hU Anlilogitrum 
Mart. Lutheri Babylonia. Compare also refennw in preceding note. 

*A5 0vet againit Chiiit and the sahiti in Wt train, the devil and his folbwcn 
are tcpreiaited here, ai frcqueotly in Luther, under the figure ^ a dragoa with 
scaly taa 

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EUCE, Duke or Saxony, Asch-maxbeai. and Eleciob 
OF THE Holy Roman Emfisz, Landgrave op Tmnracu, 
Uabgkave of Meissen, his host ORAaons Lord. 

Om Lord aod Saviour Jesus bath leftus a commandmrat, 
which concerns all Christians alike, — that we should render 
Lulw6y6 the duties of humanity, or (as the Scriptures call than) 
"^5^4 fl. *^^ works of mercy, to such as are afflicted and xmder ca- 
lamity; that we should visit the sick, endeavor to set free 
the prisoners, and perform other like acts of kindness to 
our neighbor, whereby the evils of this present time may in 
some measure be lightened. And of this command our 
Lord Jesus Christ hath Himself given us the brightest ex- 
ample, in that, out of infinite love to the race of men. He 
descended out of the bosom of the Father into our misery 
and prison-cell, that is, our flesh and life so full of ills, and 
took upon Him the penalty of our sins, in order that we 
iM. 43:14 might be saved; as He saith in Isaiah zliii, "Thou hast 
made Me to serve with thy sins, and wearied Me with 
thine iniquities." 

Whoever is not moved by so bright an example, and 
driven by the authority of the divine command, to show 
forth sudi woiks of mercy, he will deservedly hear, in the 
last judgment, the voice of the angry Judge saying: 
M«ti. "Depart from me, thou cursed, into everlasting fire! For 
**^' I was sick, and thou didst not visit Me; but, basely ungrate- 
ful for the many blessings I bestowed on thee and on all 
the world, thou wouldest not so much as lift a finger to 
succor thy brethren, nay Me, Christ, thy God and Saviour, 
in thy brethren." 
'Oiaitled, through uiavenl^t,Enim the LBtln edit io princcpi. Sm 

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Dedicatory Epistle iii 

Since, then, most noble Prince, I perceive that your 
Lordship has been smitten with a dangerous malady, and 
that Christ has thus fallen ^ck in you, I have counted it my 
duty to visit your Lordship with a little writing of mine. 
For I cannot pretend to be deaf to the voice of Christ cry- 
ing to me out of your Lordship's flesh and blood, "Behold, 
here am I sick." For such ills as sickness and the like are 
endured, not by us Christians, but by Christ Himself, our 
Lord and Saviour, in Whom we live. Even as He plainly 
testifies in the Goqie!, "Whatsoever ye have done unto one Mwt. 
of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." '*^ 
And while we should visit and console all who are afflicted 
with sickness, yet we owe this duty specially to those who 
are of the household of faith. For Paul clearly distinguishes 
between strangers and those of the household, or those 
who are bound to us by intimate ties, Galatians vi. G«l. 6:i 

But I have yet other reasons for performing this my 
duty. For I consider that, as one of your Lordship's 
subjects, I must needs share in your Lordship's illness, . 
together with the remainder of your many subjects, and 
suffer with you as a member •with the Head, on which all 
our fortunes, our safety, and our happiness depend. For 
we recognize in your Lordship another Naaman, by whom » Klnn 
God is now giving deliverance to Germany, as in times '*' 
past He gave deliverance to Syria. Wherefore the whole 
Roman Empire turns its eyes to your Lordship alone, and 
venerates and receives you as the Father of the Fatherland, 
and the bri^t ornament and protector of the whole Em- 
pire, but of the German nation in particular.* 

Nor are we boxmd only to console your Lordship as much 
as in us lies, and to make your present sorrow our own, 
but much more to pray God for your health and safety; 
which I trust your Lordship's subjects are doing with all 
diligence and devotion. But as for me, whom your Lord- 

*Oii the pditial influeocs of Frederick, u ■ factor in the GerauD Refonaa- 
tioD, we Heubunk, Kef ormatioD und GegcDrefor ma t ion 
(Kkiion'a Handbucb dec KiTcheDgeichichte, 3. Teil), p. 6r. 

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Z13 Tbe Fotuteen of Ccniidfttioo 

sh^'s many and signal benefactions have made your 
debtor above all others, I count it my duty to egress my 
gratitude by rendering you some special service. Sut now, 
by reason of my poverty both of mind and fortune, it is not 
possible for me to offer anything of value; therefore I 
gladly welcomed the suggestion of Doctor George Spaladn, 
one of your Lordshq)'s court chaplains, that I should pre- 
pare a kind of spiritual consolation and present it to your 
Lordship, to whom, he said, it would be most acceptable. 
Being unwilling to reject tUs friendly counsel, I have put 
together the following fourteen chapters, after the fashitm 
of an altar tablet, and have called them, "The Fourteen."* 
They are to take the place of the fourteen saints whom 
our superstition has invented and called, "The Defenders 
against all evil."' But this is a tablet not of ulver, but of 
a ^iritual sort; nor is it intended to adorn the walls of a 
church, but to uplift and strengthoi a pious heart. I 
trust it will stand your Lordship in good stead in youi 
present condition. It a>nsists of two divisions ; the former 
rontaining the images of seven evils, in the conten^>lation 
of which your present troubles will grow light; the latter 
presenting the images of seven blessings, brought together 
for the same purpose. 

May it please yotu" Ix>rdship graciously to accept this 
little work of mine, and to make such use of it that the 
diligent reading and omtemplatioo of these "images" may 
minister some small comfort. 

Your Lordship's humble servant, 

Mastin Luther, Doctor. 


* S«e IntcoductiaD, pp. laS t 

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The Apostle Paul, treating in Romans zv. of the consolar Rom.i5;« 
tions of Christians, writes, "Whatsoever things were writ- 
ten aforetime were written for our learning, that we through 
patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." 
In these words he plainly teaches that our consolations are 
to be drawn from the Hcdy Scriptures. Now the Holy 
Scriptures administer comfort after a twofold fashion, by 
presenting to our view blesangs and evils, mostwholesomely 
intermingled; as the wise Preacher saith, "In the day of Etdw. 
evil be mindful of the good, and in the day of good be "'*' 
mindful of the evil." For the Holy Spirit knows that a 
thing has only such meaning and value for a man as he 
asdgns to it in his thoughts; for what be bolds conmion 
and of no value will move him but little, either to pleasure 
when be obtains it, or to grief when he loses it. llierefore 
He endeavors with all His might to draw us away from 
thinking about things and from bdng moved by them; 
and when He has effected this, then all things whatsoever 
are alike to us. Now this drawing away is best accom- 
plished by means of the Word, Whereby our thoughts are 
turned from the thing that moves us at (he present moment 
to that which either is absent or does not at the moment 
move us. Therefore it is true that we shall attain to this 
state of mind only through the comfort of the Scriptures, 
which call us, in the day of evil, to the contemplation <^ 
good things, either present or to come, and, in the day of 
good, to Uie contemplation of evil things. 

But let us, for our better understanding of these two 
series of pictures or images, divide each of them into 

B (113) 

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114 The Ftmrteen of Consolation 

seven parts. The first series will treat of the evils, and we 
shall con^der (i) the evil within us, (2) the evil before ns, (3) 
the evil behind us, (4) the evil on our left hand, (5) the 
evil on our right hand, (6) the evil beneath us, and (7) the 
evil above us.* 

■ In tU body of the woffc Lvtlwr phce* (6) between (j) ud (4). 

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THE Evn. wriuiN cs 

The is most certain and true — ^we may believe it or not — 
that no suffering in a man's experience, be it never so 
severe, can be the greatest of the evils that are within him. 
So many more and far greater evils are there within him 
than any that he feels. And if he were to feel those 
evils, he would feel the pains of hell; for he holds a hell 
within himself. Do you ask how this can be? The 
Prophet says, "All men are liars"; and again, "Every man Pi.ii«:iii 
at his best state is altogether vamty." But to be a liar ^^ 
and vanity, is to be without truth and reality; and to be 
without truth and reality, is to be without God and to be 
nothing; and this is to be in hell and damned. Therefore, 
when God in His mercy chastens us, He reveals to us and 
lays upon us only the lighter evils; for if He were to lead 
us to the full knowledge of our evil, we should straightway 
perish. Yet even this He has p.vea some to taste, and of 
them it is written, "He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth i Sun. 
vp." Therefore they say well who call our bodily suffer- ** 
ings the monitors of the evil within. And the Apostle, 
in Hebrews xii, calls them God's fatherly chastenings, when Hd>. ii:fi 
he says, "He scourgeth every son whom Ht ret^iveth." 
And He does this, in order by such scourgings and lesser 
evils to drive out those great evils, that we may never 
need to feel them; as it is written, "Foolishness is bound Pmr. 
in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive "''' 
it far from him." Do not loving parents grieve more for 
their smis lAen they turn out thieves and evil-doers than 


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ii6 The Foorteeo of Consolation 

when they receive a wound? Nay, they themselves beat 
them until the blood flows, to keep them from becoming 

What is it, then, that prevents us from feeling this our 
true evil? It is, as I have said, so ordered by God, that we 
may not perish on seeing the evils hidden in the depths of 
our hearts. For God keeps them hidden, and would have 
us discern them only by ffuth, when He points them out to 
Ecdm us by means of the evil that we feel. Therefore, "In the 
"'** day of evil be mindful of the good." Bdiold, how great a 
good it is, not to know the whole of our evil! Be mindful 
of this good, and the evil that you feel will press you less 
cruelly. Agam, "In the day of good be mindful of the 
evil." That is to say. Whilst you do not feel your true evil, 
be grateful for this respite; then will the evil that you feel 
sit lightly upon you. It is clear, then, that in tbis Ufe a 
man's freedom from pain is always greater than bis pain. 
Not that his whole evil is not present with him, but he does 
not think about it and is not moved by it, through the 
goodness of God, Who ke^s it hidden. 

How furiously do those men rage against themselves, to 
whom their true evil has been revealed! How they coxmt 
as nothing whatever sufferings life may bring, if oi^y they 
might not feel the hell within t Even so would every one do, 
who felt or truly believed in the evil within him. Gladly 
would he call down all external evils on his head, and 
count them mere child's play; nay, he would never be more 
sorrowful than when he had no evib to bear, after the man- 
Pt. s ner of certain of the saints, such as David in Psalm vi. 

Therefore, this is our first image of consolation, that a 
man should say to himself: "Not yet, O man, dost thou 
feel thine evil. Rejoice and give thanks that thou dost 
not need to feel it!" And so the lesser evil grows light 
by comparison with the greatest evil. That is what 
others mean when they say, "I have deserved far worse 

of Lutlter'a childboodr 


Tbe Eril Within Xts 117 

things, yea, hell itself" — a thing easy to say, but horrible 
to contemplate. 

And this evil, though never so deeply hidden, yet puts 
forth fruits that are plainly enough perceived. Iliese 
are the dread and uncertainty of a trembling c(mscience, 
when faith is assailed, and a man is not sure, or doubts, 
whether he have a gracious God. And this fruit is bitter 1 
in proportion to the weakness of one's faith. Nay, when 
rightly considered, this wealmess alone, being spiritual, 
far outweighs every weakness of the body, and renders it, 
in comparison, light as a feather. 

Moreover, to the evils within us belong all those tra^c 
experiences described by the Preacher, when he refers 
again and again to "vanity and vexation of spirit." How Ecd.i:i, 
many of our plans come to nau^tl How oft our hopes are '^ 
deceived! How many things that are not to our liking 
must we see and bear! And the very things that fall out 
according to our wish fall out also against our wish! So 
that there is nothing perfect and complete. Finally, all 
these things are so much greater, the higher one rises in 
rank and station;* for such a one will of necessity be driven 
about by far more and greater billows, floods, and tem- 
pests, than others who labor in a like case. As it is truly 
said in Psabn ciii,* "In the sea of this world there are things fi. 104:1! 
creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts," that 
is, an infinite number of trials. And Job, for this reason, 
calls the life of man a "trial."* J<* Tt 

These evils do not, indeed, cease to be evils becaxise they 
are less sharply felt by us; but we have grown accustomed 
to them from having them constantly with us, and through 
the goodness of God our thoughts and feelings concerning 

* Luthei lus putlaUu ratoence to tbe Eiectar'a hi^ nnk. 

' Luthet loUom the Vulg&tc Dmnbering oi tbe Pnbns, which diSen from tbe 
Hebrew (uid tbe Eoglisb and Gmnui). Ailu-uPa-Sbotbigree; but the Vulgate 
(foUowinc tbe Greek venooa) counts Pi. g and lo as oae. tbui dropping bdiind tme 
in tbe DumboiDg. But it divides Ps. 147 into two; w. i-ii bring counted a« Pa. 
146. and TV. I3-90 aa Pa. 147: and 90 both vErnoos agree again fnna Pa. 148 to 
Pa. 150. 

'Jobcallait a "warfare" (militia]. 

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izS The Foorteen of Couolatka 

them have become blunted. That?!s vrhy they move us 
the more deeply when we do feel them now and then, dnce 
we have not learned through familiarity to deq)ise them. 
So true is It, therefore, that we feel scarce a thousandth 
part of our evils, and also that we estimate them and feet 
them or do not feel them, not as they are in themselves, but 
only as they exist in our thoughts and feelings.* 

> Lvtlwr hufc* bKfc to bb diKONiaB of tUi point In tbe Frc&c^ p. 1 13- 

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It will tend in no small degree to lighten any present 
evU if a man turn bis mind to the evils to come. These 
are so many, so diverse, and so great, that out of them has 
arisen one of tfae strcmgest emotions of the soul; namely, 
fear. For fear has been defined by some as the emotion 
caused by coming evil. Even as the Apostle says in Rom- 
ans zi, "Be not hi^uninded, but fear." This evil is all i 
the greater because of our uncertainty in what form and 
with what force it may come; so that there goes a popular 
saying, "No age is proof i^ainst the itch," although this 
is but a little children's disease. Even so, no man is safe 
from the evils that befall any other; for what one has 
suffered another may suffer also. Here belong all the tragic 
histories of the a^ea, and all the lamentations of the world. 
Here belong the more than three hundred diseases — which 
some have observed—with which the human body may be 
vexed. And if there be so many diseases, how great will 
be the number of other misfortunes that may befall our pos- 
sessions, our friends, and even our mind itself, that target 
of all evils, and trysting-placs of sorrow and every ill! 

And these evils increase in power and intensity as a man 
rises to higher rank and dignity ;' in which estate he must 
needs dread every moment the coming of poverty, disgrace, 
and every indignity, which may indeed swiftly overtake 
him, for they all hang by but a slender thread, not tmlike 

* Futicolu rrfmnce to tfac Elector. 


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130 Tlie Foortaen tit Coniolatira 

the sword which the tyrant Dionysius suq>eiided above 
the heiid of the guest at bis table. 

And if none of these evils befall us, we should count it 
OUT gain, and no small comfort in the evil that does befall 
us; so that we should feel constrained to say with Jeremiah, 

lun. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed." 

^'" ' For when none of them befaJl us, it is because they have 

been kept from us by the ri^t hand of the Most Elig^ that 

compasses us about with such mighty power (as we see in 

Iobi:jo Job) that Satan and all evils can but gnash their teeth in 
hetpless rage. From this we see how sweetly we ought to 
love our Lord, whenever any evil comes upon us. For our 
most loving Father would by that one evil have us see how 
many evils threaten us and would fall on us, if He did not 

iMkt Himself stand in the way, as thou^ He said, "Satan and the 

"^' host of evils have desired to have thee, to sift thee as 

wheat ;~but I have marked out bounds for the sea, and have 

Job said. Hitherto shaft thou come, and here shall thy proud 
38:10 (. waves be stayed," as He saith in Job zxzviii. 

And, granted that perchance, if God please, none of 
these things will come upon you ; nevertheless, that which 
is known as the greatest of terrors, death, is certain to 
come, and nothing is less certain than the hour of its com- 
ing. Truly, this is so great an evil that there are many who 
would rather live on amid all the above-named evils than to 
die once and have them ended. With this one thing the 
Scriptures, which hold all others in contempt, associate fear, 

Etdus. saying, "Rememberthyend,and thou shaft never do amiss." 
'^ Behold, how many meditations, how many books, how 
many rules and remedies have been brought together, in 
order, by calling to men's minds this one evil, to keep them 
from sin, to render the world contemptible, to lighten 
suflEering, to comfort the aflflicted, — all by a annparison 
with this great and terrible, and yet so inevitable, evil of 
death. This evil even the saints dreaded, and Christ sub- 

i-<^ mitted to it with trembUng and bloody sweat. So that the 
divine Mercy hath been nowhere more concerned to a)m- 

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The Future BvU lai 

fort our little faith than in the matter of this evil, as we 
shall see below.' 

But all these things are common to all men, even as the 
blessings of salvation under these evils are common to all. 
For Christians, however, there is another and a particular 
reason for dreading the evils to come, which easily sur- 
passes all the evils that have been mentioned. It is that 
which the Apostle portrays in I. Corinthians x, when he 
says, "He that standeth, let him take heed lest he fall." i 
So unstable is our footing, and so powerful our foe, armed 
with our own strength (that is, the weapons of our fiesh 
and all our evil lusts), attended by the countless armies of 
the world, its delights and pleasures on the right hand, its 
hardships and the plots of wicked men on the left, and, be- 
sides all this, master himself of the art of doing us harm, 
seducing us, and bringing us down to destruction by a 
thousand different ways. Such is our life that we are not 
safe for one moment in our good intentions. Cyprian, 
who in bis De Mortalitate* touches on many of 
these matters, teaches that death is to be desired as a 
swift means of escape from these evils. And truly, wher- 
ever there have been high-hearted men, who brought 
their minds steadily to bear on these infinite perils of hell, 
we find them, with contempt of life and death (that is, all 
the aforesaid evils), desirii^ to die, that so they might be 
deUvered at one and the same time from this evil of the sins 
in which they now are (of which we spoke in the previous 
chapter), and of the sins into which they might fall (of 
which we are treating now). And these are, indeed, two 
most weighty reasons why we should not only desire death, 
but also despise all evils, to say nothing of lightly bearing a 
single evil; if the Lord grant us to be moved thereby. For 
it is God's gift that we are moved thereby. For what 
true Christian will not even desire to die, and much more 
to bear sickness, seeing that, so long as he lives and is in 

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isa The Fourteeii ti CwuK^tUm 

health, he is in sin, and is constantly prone to fall, yea, is 
falling eveiy day, into more sins; and is thus constantly 
thwarting the most loving will of his most loving Fatherl 
To such a heat of indignation was St. Paul moved, in Ro- 

Ram.7;ig mans vii, when after complaining that he did not the good 
that he would,,but the evil that he would not, he cried out, 

Kom. "O wretched man that I ami who shall deliver me fnnn 
'■'*'■ the body of this death? The grace of God,"' he answers, 
"through Jesus Christ." 

That man loves God his Father but httle, who does not 
prefer the evil of dying to this evil of sinning. For God 
has appointed death, that this evil might come to an end, 
and tiiat death might be the minister of hfe and righteous- 
ness, of which more below.* 

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In this image, above all others, the sweet mercy of God 
our Father shines forth, able to comfort us in every distress. 
For never does a man feel the hand of God more closely r*. im-s 
upon him than when he calls to mind the years of his past 
life. St. Augustine says: "If a man were set before the 
choice either of dying or of living his past life over, it is 
certain that he would choose to die, seeing the many perils 
and evils which he had so hardly escaped." This is a very 
true saying, if it be rightly pondered. 

Here a man may see how often he has done and sirfEered 
many things, without any exertion or care of his own, nay, 
without and against his wish; of which things he took so 
little thought before they came to pass, or while they were 
taking place, that, only after all was over, be foxmd him* 
self compelled to exclaim in great surprise: "Whence have 
all these things come to me, when I never gave them a 
thought, or when I thought of sconetbing very different?" 
So that the proverb is true, "Man proposeth, but God dis- PmT.i«9 
poseth"; that is, God turns things about, and brings to pass 
something far different from that which man proposes. 
Therefore, from this consideration alone, it is impossible 
for us to deny that our life and all our actions are under 
the direction, not of our own prudence, but of the wonder- 
ful power, wisdom, and goodness of God. Here we see how 
often God was with us when we knew it not, and with 
what truth Peter has said, "He careth for us all." t Peur 

Therefore, even if there were no books or tracts, yet our ^'' 

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134 l^c Fourteen of Consolattoo 

very life itself, brought through so many evils and dangers, 
if we will but consider it, abundantly commends to us the 
ever present and most tender goodness of God, which, far 
above all that we purposed or perceived, carried us as it 
were in its bosom. As Moses says in Deuteronomy zxxii, 

Deut. "The Lord kept him as the apple of His eye, and led him 

''■ "* ■ about, and bore him on His shoulders, "• 

P*- 143:5 Hence arose those exhortations in the Psalter : "I remem- 
ber the days of old; I meditate on all Thy works; I muse on 

p». 77:11 the work of Thy hands." "Surely I will remember Thy 

Pa. iig:si wondcrs of old." Again, "I remembered Thy judgments 
of old, O Lord, and have comforted myself," These ex- 
hortations and the like are intended to teach us that, if 
God was with us when we thought it not, or when He 
seemed not to be with us, we should not doubt that He is 
always with us, even when He appears to be far from us. 
For He Who, in so many necessities, has sustained us with- 
out our aid, will not forsake us in our smaller need, even 
though He seem to be forsaking us. As He saith in Isaiah, 

Ihu u:j "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great 
mercies will I gather thee." 

Moreover, who had the care of us so many a ni^t, while 
we slept? Who cared for us when we were at work, or at 
play, or engaged in all those countless things wherein we 
had no care for ourselves? Indeed, how much of our time 
is there in which we have the care of ourselves? Even 
the miser, careful as he is to gain riches, must perforce 
put by his care in the midst of all his getting and gaining. 
And so we see that, whether we will or no, all our care 
falls back on God alone, and we are scarcely ever left to 
care for ourselves. Still, God does now and again leave us 
to care for ourselves, in order to bring home to us His good- 
ness, and to teach us how great the difference between 
His care and ours. Hence, He suffers us now and then to 
be assailed by some slight malady or other ill, dissembling 

' From the VulfUe. 

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The Past Evil 135 

His care for tis (for He never ceases to care), and yet at the 
same time preventing the many evils that threaten us on 
every side from bursting in upon us all together. Hereby 
He tries us as His well-beloved children, to see whether we 
will not trust His care, which extends through all our past 
life, and leain how vain and powerless a thing is any care 
of ours. How little, indeed, do we or can we do for our- 
selves, throughout our life, when we are not able to stop a 
small pain in one of our limbs, even for the shortest space 
of time?' 

Why, then, are we so anxious in the matter of a single 
danger or evil, and do not rather leave our care to Him? 
For our whole life bears witness to the many evils from 
which He has delivered us, without our doing. To know 
this, is indeed to know the works of God, to meditate on Pi-i43:si 
His works, and by the remembrance of them to comfort "''" 
ourselves in our adversities. But they that know this 
not come under that other word in Psalm xzvii, "Because pi- *i-s 
they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operations 
of His hand, He shall destroy them, and not build them up." 
For those men are ungrateful toward God for all His care 
over them during their whole life, who will not, for one 
small moment, commit their care to Him. 

^ Luthrr n ptllbftbly *htnHng td hbMFIk tm jitiri^rtf*^ V 

DMT Ueedlng to deatli fnn m ' ' 
H*rtln Lathci, I, 44- 

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HiTHEBTO we have seen, in all the evib that we endure, 
naught but the goodness of God, which is so great and so 
near that of all the countless evils with which we are sur- 
rounded in this life, and in which we are shut up as in a 
prison, but a very few are permitted to approach us, and 
these never for long together. So that, when we are op- 
pressed by any present evil, it is only to remind us of some 
great g^ with which God is honoring us, in that He does 
not suffer us to be overwhelmed by the multitude of evils 
with which we are surrounded. For what wonder that a 
man, at whom an infinite number of blows is aimed, 
should be touched by one now and then! Nay, it is a 
mercy not to be struck by all; it is a miracle to be struck 
by but a few. 

The first, then, of the evils beneath us is death, and the 
other is hell. 

If we will but consider the deaths, so diverse and so 
terrible, with which other sinners are punished, we shall 
ao<Hi see how great a gain is ours in that we suffer far less 
than we have deserved. How many men are hanged, 
strangled, drowned or beheaded, who perchance committed 
less sins than we I And their death and misery are held up 
to us by Christ as in a mirror, in which we may behold 
what we have deserved. For it is said in Luke xiii, when 
' they told Him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had 
mingled with their sacrifices, that He replied: "Suppose 
ye that these Galileans were sinnos above all the Galileans, 


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Tbe Infeniil EtO 137 

because they suffered these things? I teU you, Nay: but, 
except ye npent, ye shall all likewise perish. Chr those 
aghteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew 
them, thmk ye that they w^e sinners above all men that 
dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you. Nay: but, «tcept ye 
repent, ye shall all likewise perish." For we need not ex- 
pect that we, who have committed the same or even graver 
sins, shall escape with a lighter punishment Nor will 
the justice and truth of God, which hath decreed to render Kom. lA 
to every man according to his deeds, be turned for our sake 
into injustice and a lie, unless we hasten to make satisfac- 
tion by at least bearing our trifling evil with patience.' 

And how many thousands are there in hell and ever- 
lasting damnation, who have not committed the thousandth 
part of our sins! How many virgins, youths, and those 
whom we call iimocents, are therel How many monks, 
priests, and married pairs I These seemed all their life 
long to be serving God, and, it may be for a single lapse, 
are now being punished for ever. For, it may not be 
denied, the justice of God is the same in the case of every 
sin, whatever it may be, and hates and punishes all sin 
alike, it matters not in wh<mi it is found. Do we not then 
see here the inestimable mercy of God, Who hath not con- 
demned us, though we have so many times deserved con- 
demnation? Pray, what are all the sufferings life can 
bring, compared to eternal punishment, which they indeed 
justly endure on account of one sin, while we go free and 
unpunished for our many sins, which God hath covered! Pi.s*» 
That we take no thought of these benefits of God, or but 
lightly esteem them, that is ingratitude, and the harden- 
ing of our unbelieving heart. 

Moreover, we must include here the many infideb, Gen- 
tiles, Jews, and infants, who, if to them had been granted 
the advantages that we enjoy, would not now be in hell, 
but rather in heaven, and who would have anned far less 

* Luther no lim|«i bdd tUi view of "Mtbhctioo" In 1535. Sea aln pp. 150 

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laS The Fourteen of Consolation 

than we. For this mirror also does Christ set before us, 
Uatt. when He says in Matthew zi: "Woe unto thee, Gioraanl 
"'" ' woe unto thee, Bethsaidal for if the mi^ty works, which 
were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they 
would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and 
Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, 
Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be 
brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have 
been dtme in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have 
remained to this day. But I say unto you. That it shall 
be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of 
judgment, than for thee." We see, therefore, what praise 
and love we owe to our good Lord, in any evil whatsoever 
of this life; for it is but a tiny drop of the evils which we 
Job 6:3 have deserved, and which Job compares to the sea, and to 
the sand by the seashore. 

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Hese we must set before our eyes the whole multitude 
of our adversaries and wicked men, and consider, first, 
how many evils they would have inflicted on our bodies, 
our property, our good name, and on our souls, but could 
not, bdng prevented by the providence of God. Indeed, 
the higho: one's station and the wider <me's sway,* the 
more is he exposed to the intrigues, slanders, plots, and 
stratagems of his enemies. In all this we may mark 
and feel the very present hand of God, and i^ed not 
wonder if we be touched now and then by one of these 

Again, let us consid^ the evils which these men them- 
selves endure; not that we may exult over them, but that 
we may feel pity for them. For th^', too, are exposed to all 
these same evils, in common with ourselves; as may be 
seen in the preceding im^es. Only, they are in a worse 
pli^t than we, because they stand outside our fellowship,* 
both as to body and soul. For the evil that we endure is 
as nothing compared to their evil estate; for they are in sin 
and unbelief, under the wrath of God, and under the 
dominion of the devil, wretched slaves to ungodliness and 
sin, so that, if the whole world were to he^ curses on their 
heilds, it could wish them no worse things. If we rightly 

* iMtber b thinkliic bne tpcd&oJIy of the Elector. 

' a ot winU. See not cfatpUr. 

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I30 The Fonrtmn of ConsoIatiMi 

consider tliis, we shall see how much more highly favored 
we are of God, in that we may bear our slight bodily ill 
in faith, in the kingdom of Christ, and in the service of 
God; and, indeed, are scarce able to feel it, being so rich in 
those high blessings. Nay, this wretchedness of theirs 
must so wrely trouble a pious Christian heart as to make 
its own troubles seem delights beside them. Thus St. 

PUL Paul exhorts in Philippians ii, "Look not every man on 
*'* ' his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Oirist Jesus: 
Who, being in the form of God, took upon Him the form 
of a servant, etc." That is to say, Out of fervent love He 
took our form upon Himself, bearing Himself amidst our 
evils as though they were His own, and so completely for- 
getting Himself and all His goods, and humbling Himself, 
that He was found in all things to be made in the likeness 
of men, counting nothing human foreign to Himself, and 
wholly giving Himself over to our evils. 
Animated with this love, and moved by this example, 

Lnke the salnts are wont to pray for wicked men, even their 
" ' enemies, and to do all things for them after the example of 
Christ; and forgetting their own injuries and rights, to 
take thought only how they may rescue them from their 
evils, with which they are far more cruelly tormented 
than with any evils of the body. Even as St. Peter writes 

a Peter of Lot, that he "dwelt among them who from day to day 
'■* vexed the just soul with unjust works." 

You see, then, how deep an abyss of evils is here dis- 
covered, and how great an opportunity for showing mercy 
and compassion, as well as for overlooking our own trifling 
ills, if the love of God dwell in us; since that which God 
permits us to suffer is as nothing to that which those others 
endure. But the reason why these things affect us so little 
is, because the eye of our heart is not clear enough to see 
how great is the squalor and wretchedness of a man lying 
in sin; that is, separated from God, and in the possession of 
the devil. For who is there so hard of heart that he must 

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The EtQ od tiie Left Hand 131 

not scken at the spectacle of those miserable fonns lying 
at our church doors and in our streets, their faces dis- 
puted, and all their members hideously consumed with 
putrifying sores; so that the mind is horror-struck at the 
thougjit and the senses recoil from the sight 1 And what 
does God intend, through these lamentable ^>ecimens of 
our flesh and brotherhood, but to open the eyes of our mind, 
that we may see in how much more dreadful a guise the soul 
of the sinner shows forth its disease and decay, even though 
he himself go in puiple and gold, and tie among lilies and 
roses, as a very child of paradise! Yet how many sitmers 
are there to one of those wretched creatures? When these 
evils on the part of our neighbors, so great both in number 
and degree, are disregarded by us, it follows that our one 
evil, be it never so trifling, will appear as the sole evil, and 
the greatest of all. 

But even in respect of bodily evils, the wicked are of 
necessity in a worse plight than we. For what sweet and 
pure joy can be theirs, so long as their conscience can find 
no peace? Or can there be a more terrible evil than the 
unrest of a gnawing conscience? Isaiah says, "The wicked iMiah 
are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose ''■"*• 
waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith 
my God, to the wicked." This also, in Deuteronomy 
xxviii, applies to them : "The Lord shall give thee a trem- Dmt. iS: 
bling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and '^ ' 
thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt 
fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy 
life; in the morning thou shalt say. Would God it were 
even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were 
morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt 
fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." 
In a word, if one regarded all the evils of the wicked in 
the right spirit, whether they he those of his friends or his 
foes, he would not only seem' to be suffering nothing at all, 
but he would also, with Moses and the Apostle Paul, be Et-atit 
filled with an hearty desire to die for them, if it might be, ^"^'^ 


133 The FoartMn of Cotuolati(»i 

and to be blotted out of the book of life, as it is written in 
Romans iz, that thereby they might be set free. With 
such zeal and burning was Christ's heart kindled, when He 
died for us and descended into bell, leaving us an example 
that we also should be so regardful of the evils of othos, 
and forgetiul of our own, nay, rather covetous of evils of 
our own. 

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On out right hand are our friends, in the contemplatioa 
of whose evils out own will grow light, as St. Peter teaches, 
I. Peter v, "Resist the devil, steadfast in the faith, knowing i Pet. 59 
that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren 
that are in the world." Thus also does the Church entreat 
in her prayers, that provoked by the example of the saints, 
we may imitate the virtue of their sufferings; and thus she 

What toimeots lU the Saints endured, 

That they mi^t wia the mutyr's pahnl 

From such words and hymns of the Church we learn that 
the feasts of the saints, tJieir memorials, churches, altars, 
names, and images, are observed and multiplied to the end 
that we should be moved by their example to bear the same 
evils which they also bore. And imless this be the manner 
of our observance, it is impossible that the worship of saints 
should be &ee from superstition. Even as there are many 
who observe all these things in order to escape the evil 
which the saints teach us should be borne, and thus to 
become unlike those whose feasts they keep for the sake of 
becoming like them. 

But the finest treatment of this portion of our consolation 
is given by the Apostle, when he says, in Hebrews xii: 
"Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Heb. i«: 
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketb *"' 
vxLto you as unto children, My son, demise not thou the 
chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of 
Him ; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourg- 
eth every son whom He recdveth. If ye endure chastening, 


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134 The Fourteen of Cossolatum 

God dealeth with you as with sonsi for what son is he whom 
the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastise- 
ment, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and 
not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh 
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we 
not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, 
and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us 
after their good pleasure; but He for our profit, that we 
might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening 
for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; never- 
theless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of right- 
eousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Who 
must not be terrified at these words of Paul, in which he 
plainly states that they who are without the chastisement 
of God are not the sons of Godl Again, what greater 
strengthening and what better comfort can there be than 
to hear that they who are chastened are beloved of the 
Lord, that they are sons of God, that they have part in the 
communion of saints, that they are not alone in their suffer- 
ings! So forceful an exhortation must make chastisement a 
thing to be loved. 

Nor is there here any room for the excuse that some have 
lighter, others heavier, evils to bear. For to every one is 
given his temptation according to measure, and never be- 
p». 8o;s yond his strength. As it is written in Psalm Ixxix, "Thou 
shalt feed us with the bread of tears, and give us for our 
I Cor. lo: drink tears in measure";' and as Paul says, "God is faith- 
" ful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye 
are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to 
escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Where there is, 
therefore, a greater evil, there is also more of divine help, 
and an easier way to escape; so that the unequal distribu- 
tion of sufferings appears to be greater than it actually is. 
Does not the example of St, John Baptist, whom we com- 
memorate on this day' as beheaded by Herod, shame and 


The Eril oa tiie Right Band 135 

amaze us all ! — that so great a man, than whom there was 
none greater bora of woman, the special friend of the m&u. h 
Bridegroom, the forerunner of Christ, and more than all jj^y^^ 
the prophets, should have been put to death, not Indeed mul h 
aft^ a public trial, nor on a feigned chaise (as it was with " 
Christ), nor yet for the sake of the people; but in a dimgeon, um. 
and for the sake of a dancing-girl, daughter of an adulter- '*^~" 
ess! This one Sdint's ignominious death, and his life so 
vilely and shamelessly given over into the hands of his 
sworn and adulterous enemy, must make ail our evil light. 
Where was God then, that He could look on such things? 
Where was Christ, Who, hearing of it, was altogether silent? 
He perished as if unknown to God, and men, and every 
creature. Compared with such a death, what sufferings 
have we to boast of; nay, what sufferings of which we must 
not even be ashamed? And where shall we appear, if we 1 Pet. 
are unwilling to endure any suffering, when such a man en- *''* 
dured so shamefxil a death, and so undeserved, and his body, 
after death, was given up to the insults of his enemies! 
"Behold," He saith in Jeremiah, "behold, they whose J«r. 49:11 
ju(^;ment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly 
drunken: and art thou he that shall altogether go un- 
punished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt 
surely drink of it." 

Therefore, that hermit, who was used to fall ill every 
year, did well to weep and lament, when for one whole 
year he foimd himself in sound health, because, he said, 
God had forsaken him and withdrawn His grace from him. 
So necessary and so salutary is the Lord's chastening for 
all Christians. 

We see, then, that all om sufferings are as nothing, when 
we consider the nails, dtmgeons, irons, faggots, wild beasts, 
and all the endless tortures of the saints; nay, when we 
ponder the afflictions of men now living, who endure in 
this life the most grievous persecutions of the devil. For 
there is no lack of men who are suffering more sharp and 
bitter pains than we, in soul as well as in body. 


' X36 The Foarteea of Consolatiim 

But DOW some will say, "Tbis is my complaint, that my 
suffering cannot be compared with the sufferings of the 
saints; because I am a sinner, and not worthy to be com- 
pared with them. They, indeed, suffered because of their 
innocence, but I suffer because of my sins. It is no wonder, 
then, that they so blithely bore all." That is a very stu|Hd 
saying. If you suffer because of your sins, then you ought 
to rejoice that your sins are being purged away. And, be- 
sides, were not the saints, too, sinners? But do you fear 
that you are like Herod, and the thief on Christ's left hand? 
You are not, if you have patience. For what was it that 
distinguished the thief on the left hand from him on the 
right but the patience of the one and the impatience of the 
other? If you are a sinner, well; the thief, too, was a sinner; 
but by his patience he merited the glorious reward of ri^t- 
Luke eousness and holiness. Go, and do thou likewise. For you 
'*^' can suffer nothing except it be either on account of your 
sins or on accoimt of your righteousness; and both kinds 
of suffering sanctify and save, if you will but love them. 
And so there is no excuse left. In short, just as soon as you 
have confessed that you are suffering on account of your 
sins, you are righteous and holy, even as the thief on the 
r^t hand. For the confession of sins, because it is the 
tnith,' justifies and sanctifies, and so, in the very mmnent 
of tbis confesdon, you are suffering no longer on account 
of your sins, but on account of your innocence. For the 
righteous man always suffers innocently. But you are 
made righteous by the confesaon of your merited sufferings 
and of your sins. And so your sufferings may truly and 
worthily be compared with the sufferings of the saints, 
even as your confession may truly and worthily be com- 
pared with the confession of the sunts. For one is the 
truth of all, one the confession of all sins, one the suffering 
of all evils, and one the true communion of saints in all 
and through all.* 

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FiNAiXY, let US lift up our hearts, and ascend with the Saog of 
Bride into the mountain of myrrh. This is Jesus Christ ^^ ** 
the Crucified, Head of all saints, and Prince of all sufferers; 
of Whom many have written many things, and all all things, 
as it is meet.' His memory is ccnnmeiided to the Bride, 
when it is said, "Set Me as a seal upon thine heart, as a soog of 
seal upon thine arm." The blood of this Lamb, a^ed g^al* 
upon the threshold, wards off the destroying angel. By 13 
Him is the Bride praised, because "the hair of her head is as sov of 
the king's purple"; that is, her meditation ^ows red with s*"- '■* 
the remembrance of the Passion of Christ. Ihis is that ^^ ,j. 
tree which M(»es was commanded to cast into the waters n ff. 
of Marah (that is, the bitterness of suffering), and they were 
made sweet There is nothing that this Passion cannot 
sweeten, not even death itself; as the Bride saith, "His Sonctrf 
lips are lilies, drc^ping sweet-smelling myrrh." What **•*■'» 
lesembtance is there between lips and lilies, since lips are 
red and lilies white? But she says this in a mystery, sig- 
nifying that the words of Christ are most fair and pure, 
and that there is in them naught of blood-red bitterness or 
guile; nevertheless, in them He dn^ precious and chos^i 
myrrh, that is, the bitterness of death. These most pure 
lips and sweet have power to make the bitterest death sweet 
and fair and bri^t and dear, — death that, like predcus 
myrrh, removes at once all of sin's corruption. 

■ Tfab Meiiu to i«I« to the wTlten o[ the Holj Scdptmci. 


138 The Fourteea of Coasolatkm 

How does this come to pass? When, forsooth, you hear 
that Jesus Christ, God's Son, hath, by His most holy touch, 
consecrated and hallowed all sufferings, even death itself, 
hath blessed the curse, glorified shame, and enriched 
poverty, so that death has been made a door to life, curse 
a fount of blessing, and shame the mother of glory : how can 
you then be so hard and. ungrateful as not to long for and 
to love all manner of sufferings, now that they have been 
touched by Christ's most pure and holy flesh and blood, 
and made unto you holy, harmless, wholesome, blessed, 
and full of joy? 

For if Christ, by the touch of His most innocent flesh, 
has hallowed all waters unto baptism, yea, and every 
creature besides; how much more has He, by the same con- 
tact of His most innocent flesh and blood, hallowed every 
form of death, all suffering and loss, every curse and shame, 
unto the baptism of the Spirit, or the baptism of blood!' 
Even as He saith of this same baptism of His Passion, 

Luke in Luke xii, "I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how 
"'■^ am I straitened until it be accompUshed !" Behold, how 
He is straitened, how He pants and thirsts, to sanctify 
suffering and death, and make them things to be loved I 
For He sees how we stand in fear of suffering. He marks 
how we tremble and shrink from death. And -so, like a 
godly pastor or faithful physician. He hastens to set bounds 
to this our evil, and is impatient to die and by His contact 
to commend suffering and death unto us. So that the death 

Num. of a Christian is henceforth to be regarded as the brazen 
"'■^ serpent of Moses, which indeed hath in all things the ap- 
pearance of a serpent, yet is quite without life, without 
motion, without venom, without sting. Even so the 

Wsdom righteous seem, in the sight of the imwise, to die; but they 
^''' ^ are in peace. We resemble them that die, nor is the out- 

* A Tttatott to the threefold baptimi, commonly accepted, vii., (i) f I u in i n i s . 
(3) flam toil, (i) Banguinii; that U, (i) the Sunment o( bwtism, (1) 
the baptism of the Sturit, or lepentanoe, (3) the baptism of blood, or martyrdom. 
Cf. PR£>, XIX, 414. 

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The Sttpenul Brfl 139 

ward appearance of our dying unlike that of others; but 

the thing itself is different, because for us death is dead. 

In like manner all our sufferings are like the sufferings of 

other men; but it is only in the appearance. In reaJity 

our sufferings are the beginning of our freedom from 

suffering, as our death is the beginning of our life. This 

is that which Christ saith in John viii, "If a man keep my Jdba 8.51 

saying he shall never see death." How shall he not see it? 

Because when he dies, he begins to live, and so he cannot 

see death for the life that he sees. For here the night shin- P». i»:ii 

etb as the day ; since the life that breaks upon him is brighter 

far than departing death. These things are assured to all 

who believe in Christ, to the unbeUeving they are not. 

Therefore, if you kiss, caress, and embrace, as most sweet 
relics,' consecrated by His touch, the robe of Christ, the 
vessels, waterpots, and what things soever He touched 
and used; why will you not the rather caress, embrace, 
and kiss the pains and evils of this world, disgrace and 
death, which He not only hallowed by His touch, but sprin- 
kled and blessed with His most holy blood, yea, embraced 
with willing heart, and great constraining love?* The 
more, since in these there are for you far greater merits, 
rewards, and blessings than in those relics; for in them 
there is offered to you the victory over death, and hell, 
and all sins, but in those relics nothing at all. O could 
we but see the heart of Christ, when, hanging on the 
Cross, He was so eager to slay death, and hold it up to our 
contempt! With what grace and ardor He embraced 
death and pain for us timid ones, who shrink from them ! 
How willingly He first drinks this cup for us sick ones, 
that we may not dread to drink it after Him! For we see 
that naught of evil befell Him, but only good, in His resur- 

' PndericI: tbe Wise wm ft phot coIIectOT of rdica. having 5005 of tbent in the 
Cutic Church &t WitUnberg. Thty hod lomething to do with Lather's choice of 
Oct<rf>er 31st as tbe date of the postini of tbe XCV Theses. See Introductloii to 
tbe Thteea, p. 16 of this volume, note i. 

■ Cf. Letter to Georse Lcdfler, 15 April, 1516. See M. A. Coun. The 
LetteiB of M. Luther, p. 7. 

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t4o The Foorteen of Consolatioa 

rectioQ. Could we see this, then doubtless that precious 
mjnrh, dropping from Christ's lips, and commended by 
Wa words, would grow most sweet and pleasant unto us, 
even as the beauty and fragrance of lilies. Thus saith also 

I p«t 4:1 Sl Peter, I. Peter iv, "Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered 
for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same 

■cb. ta;] mind." And St. Paul, Hebrews zii, "Consider I£m that 
endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest 
ye be wearied and faint in your minds." 

If we have learned, in the foregoing images, beneath us 
and above us, to bear our evils with patience, surely in 
this last, lifted above and out of ourselves, caught up unto 
Christ, and made superior to all evils, we ought not only 
to bear with them, but to love them, desire them, and seek 
them out. Whoever is yet far from this state of mind, for 
him the Passion of Christ has little value; as it is with those 
who use the »gn and arms of Christ' to ward off evils and 
death, that so they may neither suffer pain nor endure 
death, which is altogether contrary to the cross and death 
of Christ. Hence, in this image, whatever evils we may 
have to bear must be swallowed up and consumed, so that 
they shall not only cause us no pain, but even delight us; if 
indeed this image find its way into our heart, and fix itself 
in the inmost ajffections of our mind. 

* L e.. The rim d the oom. 

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Tte second part also consists of seven images, answer- 
ing to the first; the first representing the internal blessing, 
the second the future bles^g, the third the past blessing, 
the fourth the infernal blesdng, the fifth the blessing <m 
the left hand, the ^zth the blessing on the right hand, and 
the seventh the supernal blessing. 




Who can recoimt only those blessings which every (Hie 
hath in his own person? How great are, first, the gifts 
and endowments of the body; such as beauty, strength, 
health, and the lively play of the senses! To these there 
comes, in the case of the male, a greater nobility of sex, 
that fits him for the doing of many things both in public 
and in private life, and for many fplendid achievements, 
to which woman is a stranger. And if, by the grace of 
God, you enjoy these excellent gifts for ten, twenty, or 
thirty years, and in all this time endure suffering for a few 
days now and then, what great matter is that? There is a 
proverb among knaves, E s ist umb ein bose stund 
z u t h u n , and, Ein gutt stund ist eyner 
posen werdt.* What shall be said of us, who have 
seen so many good hours, yet are not willing to mdure evfl 
for a single hourl We see, therefore, how many blessings 

* A( nocb u, *^e ue fat fot ■ bid hov," tDd, "A ■Odd hour b worth ■ bad hoat." 

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143 The Fourteen ci Consolation 

God showers upon us, and how few evils barely touch us. 
This is true at least of the most of us. 

But not content with these blessings, our gracious God 
adds to them riches and an abundance of all things; if not 
in the case of all, certainly in the case of many, and of those 
e^>ecially who aie too frail to bear the evil. For as I 
said before,* when He grants fewer bodily gifts and pos- 
sessions, He gives greater mental gifts; so that all things 
may be equal, and He the just Judge of all. For a cheer- 
ful mind is a greater comfort than much riches. Moreover, 
to some He grants ofEspring, and, as men say, the highest 
pleasure, influence, rank, honor, fame, glory, favor, and the 
like. And if these be enjoyed for a long or even for a short 
season, they will soon teach men how they ought to con- 
duct themselves imder some small evU. 

But more excellent than all these are the blessings of the 
mind; such as reason, knowledge, judgment, eloquence, 
prudence. And, here again, God tempers the justice of 
His dealing, so that when He bestows more of Uiese gifts 
on some men. He does not therefore prefer them to others, 
since on these again He confers greater peace and cheer- 
fulness of mind. In all these things we should gratefully 
mark the boimtiful hand of God, and take comfort in our 
infiimity. For we should feel no surprise if among so many 
and great blessings there be some intermingling of bitter- 
ness; since even for epicures no meat is savory without 
salt, nor scarce any dish palatable that has not a certain 
bitter savor, either native or produced by seasoning. So 
intolerable is a continual and unrelieved sweetness, that it 
has been truly said, "Every pleasure too long continued 
begets disgust"; and again, "Pleasure itself turns at length 
to loathing." That is to say, this life is incapable of en- 
joying only good things without a tempering of evil, be- 
cause of the too great abundance of good things, ^\llence 
has arisen also this proverb, "It needs sturdy bones to bear 

^ See p. 134. 

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The Blessing Wittiin Us 143 

good days"; which proverb I have often pondered and much 
admired for its excellent true sense, namely, that the 
wishes of men are contrary to one another; they seek none 
but good days, and, when these arrive, are less able to bear 
them than evil days. 

What, then, would God have us here lay to heart but 
this, that the cross is held in honor even among the enemies 
of the cross! For aU things must needs be tempered and 
sanctified with the relics of the ctoss, lest they decay; 
even as the meat must be seasoned with salt, that it may 
not breed wonns. And why will we not gladly accept this 
tempering which God sends, and which, if He did not send 
it, our own life, weakened with pleasures and blessings, 
would of itself demand? Hence we see with what truth 
the Bookof Wisdom says of God, "He* reacheth from end to Wud.8:i 
end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly." And if 
we examine these blessings, the truth of Moses' words, 
in Deuteronomy xzxii, will become plain, "He bore him Dml 
on His shoulders, He led him about, and kept him as the ^'''^ 
q)pte of His eye." With these words we may stop the 
mouths of those ungrateful praters who hold that there 
is in this life more of evil than of good. For there is no 
lack of good things and endless sweet blessings, but they 
are lacking who ate of the same mind with him who said, 
"The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord"; and again, Ps. as 
"The earth is fuU of His praise"; and in Psahn ciii, "The "t^^!^* 
earth is full of Thy riches" ; "Thou, Lord, hast made me glad Ps- 91-4 
through TTiy work," Hence we sing every day in the Mass;* 
"Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory." Why do we Im- a j 
sing this? Because there are many blessings for which 
God may be praised, but it is done only by those who see the 
fulness of them. Even as we said concerning the evils of 
the first image,* that a man's evils are only so great as he in 
bis thoughts acknowledges them to be, so it is also with 

' In ltd* putt* "Wlidoin" U tbe nibject. 
>In IbeSinctui. 
■ S«c p. I it. 

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144 "^f^ Foorteen of CoDSolation 

the blessiiigs. Though they aowd upon us from every 
ade, yet they are only so great as we acknowledge them to 

Cat. i:^! be. For all things that God made are very good, but th^ 
are not acknowledged as very good by all. Such were they 

pi.io6;]4 of whom it is said in Psalm Izxvil,' "They despised the 
pleasant land." 

The most beautiful and instructive example of this 
image is furnished by Job, who when he had lost all said. 

Job t-M "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we 
not receive evil?" Truly, that is a golden saying, and a 
mighty comfort in temptation. For Job not only suffered, 
but was tempted to impatience by his wife, who said to 

Job *9 him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, 
and die." As who should say, "It is plain that he is not 
God who is thus forsaking thee. Why, then, dost thou 
trust in bim, and not rather, renouncing him, and thus 
cursing him, acknowledge thyself a mortal man, for niiom 
naught remains after this life?" lliese things and the like 
are suggested to each cme of us by fais wife (i. e., his carnal 

uubiS: mind*) in time of temptation; for the carnal mind' savoretli 
** not the things that be of God. 

But these are all bodily blessings, and common to all 
men. A Christian has other and far better blessings 
within, namely, faith in Christ; of which it is said in Psalm 

^ zliv, "The king's daughter is all glorious within ; her cloth- 
ing is of wrought gold." For, as we sfud concerning the 
evil of the first image,' that no evil in a man can be so great 
as to be the worst of the evils within him; so too the great- 
est of the blessings which are in the Christian, he himself is 
miable to see. Could he perceive it, he would forthwith 

Lake be in heaven; ^nce the kingdom of heaven, as Christ says, 

*''" is within us. For to have faith is to have the Word and 

truth of God; and to have the Word of God is to have God 

Himself, the Maker of all. If these blessings, in all thdr 

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The Blesaiiig Within Us 145 

fulness, were discovered to the soul, straightway it would 
be released from the body, for the exceeding abundance 
of sweet pleasure. Wherefore, of a truth, all the other 
blessings which we have mentioned are but as the monitors 
of those blessings which we have within, and which God 
would by than commend unto us. For this life of ours 
could not endure to have than revealed, but God merci- 
fully keeps them bidden, tmtil they have reached thdr 
full measure. Even so loving parents give their children 
foolish little toys, in order thereby to lead them on to look 
for better things. 

Nevertheless, these bles^gs show themselves at times, 
and break out of doors, when the happy conscience rejoices 
in its trust to Godward, is fain to speak of Him, hears His 
Word with pleasure, and is quick to serve Him, to do good 
and suffer evil. AU these are the evidence of that infinite 
and incomparable bles^g hidden within, which sends 
forth such Little drops and tiny rills. Still, it is sometimes 
more fully revealed to contemplative souls, who then are 
rapt away thereby, and know not where they are; as is 
confessed by St. Augustine and his mother,^ and by many 

>Tbe ConfeiBioDB of Si. ADguitine, Book DC. dupUt e. 

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Those who are not Christians will find small comfort, 
smid their evils, in the contemplation of future blessings; 
since for them all these things are uncertain. Although 
much ado is made here by that famous emotion called 
hope, by which we call on each other, in words of human 
comfort, to look for better times, and continually plan 
greater things for the uncertain future, yet are always de- 
ceived. Even as Christ teaches concerning the man in the 
M Gospel, Luke xii, who ssud to his soul, "I will pull down my 
*:>&>■ bams, and build greater; and will say to my soul, Sotd, 
thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine 
ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, 
Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; 
and then vhose shall those things be which thou hast pro- 
vided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is 
not rich toward God." 

Nevotheless, God has not so utterly forsaken the sons 
of men that He will not grant them some measure of com- 
fort in this hope of the passing of evil and the coming of 
good things. Though they are imcertain of the future, yet 
they hope with certain hope, and hereby they are mean- 
while buoyed up, lest falling into the further evil of despair, 
they should break down under their present evil, and do 
some worse thing.' Hence, even this sort of hc^ is the 
gift of God; not that He would have them lean on it, but 

' Lotbn U pnbaUy >htnMwg of the lia of ffitfHt 

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The Future Bles^ng 147 

that He would turn their attention to that firm hope, 
which is in Him alone. For He is so long-sufiering that He 
leadeth them to rq>entance, as it is said in Romans ii, and Kom. 1:4 
suffers none to be straightway deceived by this deceitful 
hope, if haply they may "return to the heart,"' and come l«. 46* 
to the true hope. 

But Christians have, beside this twofold blessing,* the 
very greatest future blessings certainly awaiting them; 
yet only throu^ death and suffering. Although they, too, 
rejoice in that common and uncertain hope that the evil 
of the present will come to an end, and that its opposite, 
the blessing, will increase; still, that is not their chief con- 
cern, but rather this, that their own particular blessing 
should increase, which is the truth as it is in Christ, m 
which they grow from day to day, and for which they both 
live and hope. But beside this they have, as I have said, 
the two greatest future blessings in their death. The 
first, in that through death the whole tragedy of this 
world's ills is brought to a close; as it is written, "Precious Pi. 116:15 
in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints"; and 
again, "I will lay me down in peace and sleep"; and, t*.4A 
"lliough the righteous be prevented with death, yet shall vm.a^ 
he be at rest." But to the ungodly death is the beginning 
of evils; as it is said, "The death of the wicked is very evil," Pi.j4:»i 
and, "Evil shall catch the unjust man unto destruction."' Pb.i4o:ii 
Even so Lazarus, who received his evil things in his lifetime, Lu^ 
is comforted, while the rich glutton is tormented, because '*■'* 
he received his good things here. So that it is always well 
with the Christian, whether he die or live; so blessed a 
thing is it to be a Christian and to believe in Christ. Where- 
fore Paul says, "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain," PUt i:it 
and, in Romans ziv, "Whether we hve, we live unto the Rom. 
Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether '* 

* From the Vulgate (Douay Veraoo). 

* Nundy, tbe bope in the punng of evfl and the cMning of sood thingi. Sm 

' Tbe two last paMage* i«ad thus b tbe Vuliate. 

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14S The Fourteen of Consolatloa 

we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." This security 
Christ hath won for us by His death and rising again, 
that He might be Lord of both the living and dead, able to 
keep us safe in life and in death; as Psalm xzii. saith, 
F*- i3-4 "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me." If this gain of 
death move us but Uttle, it is proof that our faith in Christ 
is feeble, and does not prize highly enough the reward and 
gain of a blessed death, or does cot yet believe that death 
is a blessing; because the old man is still too much alive in 
us, and the wisdom of the flesh too strong. We should, 
therefore, endeavor to attain to the knowledge and the 
love of this blessing of death. It is a great thing that 
death, which is to others the greatest of evils, is made to 
us the greatest gain. And imless Christ had obtained this 
for us, what bad He done that was worthy of the great 
price He paid, namely, His own self P It is indeed a divine 
work that He wrou^t, and none need wonder, therefore, 

Col lyi that He made the evil of death to be something that Is very 

Death, then, to believers is already dead, and hath noth- 
ing terrible behind its grinning mask. Like unto a slain 
serpent, it hath indeed its former terrifying appearance, 
but it is only the f^pearance; in truth it is a de^ evil, and 

Mn. " harmless enough. Nay, as God commanded Moses to lift 
'*^ *■ up a serpent of brass, at sight of which the living serpents 
perished, even so our death dies in the believing contempla- 
tion of the death of Christ, and now hath but the outward 
appearance of death. With such fine similitudes the mercy 
<A God prefigures to us, in our infirmity, this truth, that 
thou^ death ^ould not be taken away, He yet has reduced 

*^*^^ its power to a mere shadow. For this reason it is called 
4:13 a. in the Scriptures a "sleep" rather than death. 

The other blessing of death is this, that it not only con- 
cludes the pains and evils of this life, but (which is more 
excellent) niakes an end of sins and vices. And this raiders 
death far more desirable to believing souls, as I have 


Tbe Future BlessiDg 149 

said above,* than the fonuer blessii^; ance the evils of the 
soul, which are its sins, are beyond comparison worse 
evils than those of the body. This alone, did we but know 
it, should make death most desirable. But if it does not, 
it is a sign that we neither feel nor hate our sin as we should. 
For this our life is so full of perils — sin, like a serpent, be- 
setting us on every side — and it is impossible for us to live 
without sinning; but fairest death delivers us from these 
perils, and cuts our sin clean away from us. Therefore, 
the praise of the just man, in Wisdom iv, concludes on this 
wise: "He pleased God, and was t^en away, and was VM. 
beloved of Him: so that living among sinners he was trans- *'-^^^ 
lated. Yea, speedily was he taken away, lest that wick- 
edness should alter his tmd^istanding, or deceit beguile his 
soul. For the bewitching of naughtiness doth obscure 
things that are honest; and the wandering of concupiscence 
doth undermine the simple mind (O how constantly true 
is this!). He, being made perfect in a short time, fidfilled 
a long time; for his soul pleased the Lord: therefore hasted 
He to take him away from the wicked." 

Thus, by the mercy of God, death, which was to man 
the punishment for his sin, is made unto the Christian the 
end of sin, and the beginning of life and righteousness. 
Wherefore, he that loves life and righteousness must not 
hate, but love an, their minister and workshop; else he will 
never attain to either life or righteousness. But he that 
is not able to do this, let him pray God to enable hitn. For 
to this end are we taught to pray, "Thy will be done," ifaturic 
because we cannot do it of ourselves, dnce through fear of 
death we love death and sin rather than life and righteous- 
ness. And that God appointed death for the putting to 
death of sin, may be gathered also from the fact that He 
imposed death upon Adam immediately after his sin; and 
that before He drove him out of paradise; in otda to show 
us that death should bring us no evil, but every blessing. 

* SW pL M*. 

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ISO The Fotuteen of Coiuolation 

since it was imposed in paradise, as a penance and satis- 
Wbd. faction.* For it is true that, through the envy of the 
*■'* devil, death altered into the world; but it is of the Lord's 
surpassii^ goodness that, after having thus entered in, 
it is not permitted to harm us very much, but is taken cap- 
tive from the very beginning, and set to be the punishment 
and death of sin. 

Gen. a:i7 This He signified when, after having in His command- 
ment foretold the death of Adam, He did not afterward hold 
His peace, but imposed death anew, and tempered the 
severity of His coimnandment, nay. He did not so much as 

Geo. 3:10 mention death with a sii^le syllable, but said only, "Dust 
thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return"; and, "Until 
thou return unto the ground, from whence thou wast 
taken" — as if He then so bitterly hated death that He would 
not deign to call it by its name, according to the word, 
Pt. so'-s "Wrath is in His indignation; and life in His good will."* 
Thus He seemed to say that, unless death had been neces- 
sary to the abolishing of sin, He would ^ot have been willing 
to know it nor to name it, much less to impose it. And so, 
against san, which wrought death, the zeal of God arms 
none other than this very death again ; so that you may here 
see exemplified the poet's line,* 

By his own ut the uti$t peiiaheth. 

Even so sin is destroyed by its own fruit, and is slain by 
the death which it brought forth;* as a viper is slain by its 
own offering. This is a brave spectacle, to see bow death 
is destroyed, not by another's work, but by its own; is 
stabbed with its own weapon, and, like Goliath, is be- 
I Sun. headed with its own sword. For Goliath also was a type 
''^' of sin, a giant terrible to all save the young lad Davkl, 

» Cf. p. iJT. note. 
t-Tbaa the VatgUe. 
■Ovid, Ats ami 
•a. Tce»tl»e on 

t . . I. 6s«. 




The Future Blesring igi 

. — that is Christ, — who ^ngle-handed lud him low, and 
having cut off his head with his own sword, said afterward 
that there was no better swotd than the sword of Goliath > 
(I. Samuel zxi.}. 

Therefore, if we meditate on these joys of the power M 
Christ, and these gifts of His grace, how can any small evil 
distress us, the while we see such blessings in this great evil 
that is to comel 

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The consideration of this image is not difficult, in view 
of its counteipart, of the past evils;' we would, however, 
aid him who undertakes it. Here St. Augustine shows him- 
self an excellent master, in his Confessions, in which he 
^ves a beautiful reheatsal of the benefits of God toward 
him from his mother's womb.* The same is done in that 
fine Psalm czzzviii, 'Xord, Thou hast searched me," 
where the Psalmist, marveli^ among other things at the 
h. goodness of God toward him, says, "Hiou understandest 
t»:i ff. my thoughts afar off, Thou compassest my path and my 
lying down." Which b as though he said, Whatever I 
have thought or done, whatever I shall achieve and pos- 
sess, I see now that it is not the result of my industry, but 
was ordered loiig ago by Thy care. "And there is no 
speech in my tongue."* Where is it thai? In Thy power. 

We learn this from our own eiperience. For if we reflect 
on our past life, is it not a wond^ that we thought, desired, 
did and said that which we were not able to foresee? 
How far different our couise would have been, had we been 
left to our own free will! Now only do we understand it, 
and see how constantly God's present care and providence 
were over us, so that we could neither think nor speak nor 
^^ will anything except as He gave us leave. As it is said in 
7;i6 Wisdtnn vii, "In His hands are both we and our words"; 

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The Past Blesung 153 

and by Paul, "Who worketh all in all." Ought not we, i cm. 
insensate and hatd of heart, to bang our heads in shame, *'* 
when we learn from our own operience how our Lord bath 
cared for us unto this hour, and given us every blessing? 
And yet we cannot commit our care to Him in a small pres- 
ent evil, and act as if He had forsaken us, or ever could 
forsake usi Not so the Psalmist, in Fsabn zxxiz, "I am P«.4a:iT 
poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh on me." C^ which 
St. Augustine has this comment: "Let Him care for thee, 
Who made thee. He Who cared for thee before thou wast, 
how shall He not care for thee now thou art that which He 
willed thee to be?"> But we divide the kingdom with 
God; to Him we grant (and even that but grudpngly) 
that He hath made us, but to ourselves we arrogate the 
care over ourselves; as though He had made us, and then 
straightway departed, and left the government of our- 
selves in our own hands. 

But if our wisdom and fore^ght blind us to the care that 
God hath over us, because perchance many things have 
fallen out according to our plans, let us turn again, with 
Psalm czxzviii, and look in upon ourselves. "Mysubstance Pi.i3o:is 
was not bid from Thee when I was made in secret" — 
that is, Thou didst behold and didst fashion my bones in 
my mother's womb, when as yet I was not, and my mother 
knew not what was forming in her; — "and my substance 
was curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth" — 
that is, even the form and fashion of my body in the secret 
chambers of the womb were not hidden from Thee, for 
Thou wast fashioning it. What does the Psalmist intend 
with such words but to show us by this marvelous illustra- 
tion how God hath always been caring for us without our 
helpl For who can boast that he took any part in his 
formation in the womb? Who gave to our mother that 
loving care wherewith she fed and fondled and caressed us, 
and performed all those duties of motherhood, when we 


154 The Fourteen at Consolatioa 

had as yet no consciousness of our life, and when we 
should neither know nor remembet these things, but that, 
seeing the same things done to others, we believe that 
they were done to us also? For they were performed on 
us as though we had been asleep, nay dead, or rather not 
yet bom, so far as our knowledge of them is concerned. 

Hius we see how the divine mercies and consolations ' 
bear us up, without our doing. And still we doubt, or 
even de^air, that He is caring for us to^y. If this ex- 
perience does not instruct and move one, I know not what 
will. For we have it brought home to us ^ain and again, 
in every little child we meet; so that so many examples 
proposed to our foolishness and hardness of heart may well 
fill us with deep shame, if we doubt that the slightest 
blessing or evil can come to us without the particular care 
I Pet. j:? of God. Thus St Peter says, "Casting all your care upon 
Pi. 37:5 Hun, because He careth for you." And Psalm xxxvi, "Cast 
Pi. ss:ii thy burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain thee." And 
St. Augustine, in the Confessions,^ addresses his soul on 
this wise: "Why dost thou stand upon thyself, and dost 
not stand? Ca^t thyself on Him; for He will not with- 
draw His hand and let thee fall." Again, we read in 
I PeL I, Peter iv, "Wherefore let them that suffer according to 
*'^ the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Wm in 
well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." 

O could a man attain unto such a knowledge of bis 
God, bow safely, how quietly, how joyfully, would he farel 
He would in truth have God on his side, knowing this of a 
certainty, that all his fortunes, whatever they might be, 
had come to him, and still were coming, under the guidance 
of His most sweet will. Tlie word of Peter stands firm, 
t Pet. s-7 "He careth for you." What sweeter sound than this word 
can we hear I Therefore, he says, "Cast all your care upon 
Him." If we do this not, but rather take our care upon 
ourselves, what is this but to seek to binder the care of 

> Book vm, cbep. d. 

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The Past Bles^ng 155 

God, and, besides, to make oui life a life of sorrow and labor, 
troubled with many fears and cares and much unresti 
And all to no avail; for we accomplish nothing good there- 
by, but, as the Preacher saith, it is vanity of vanities, Ecd. 
and vexation of spirit. Indeed, that whole book treats of *'*' ^ 
this experience, as written by one who for himself made 
trial of many things, and found them all only weariness, 
vanity and vexation of ^irit, so that he concludes it is a 
gilt of God that a man may eat and drink and Uve joyfully ^^,. 
with his wife, i. e., when he passes his days without anxiety, g'7, g 
and commits his care to God. Therefore, we ought to 
have no other care for ourselves than this, namely, not 
to care for ourselves, and rob God of His care for us. 

Whatever remains to be said, will easily be gathered from 
the corresponding image of evils, as I have said/ and from 
the contemplation of one's past life. 

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Thits tax we have con^dered the blessings which are 
OUTS, and aie found within ourselves; let us now turo to 
those blessings that are without us, and are found in 
others. The first of these is found in those who are be- 
neath us, that is, the dead and damned. Do you wonder 
what kind of blessing can be discovo^ in the dead and 
damned? But the power of the divine goodness is every- 
where so great that it grants us to descry blessings in the 
very greatest evils. Comparing, then, these poor wretches, 
first of all, with ourselves, we see how unspeakable is our 
gain; as may be gathered from the corresponding image of 
evils.* For great as are the evils of death and hell that 
we see in them, so great certainly are the gains that we 
behold in ourselves. These things are not to be lightly 
passed over, for they forcibly commend to us the magnifi- 
cent mercy of God. And we run the danger, if we lightly 
esteem them, of being found ungrateful, and of being 
condemned together with these men, and even more cruelly 
tormented. Therefore, when we perceive how they suffer 
and wail aloud, we ought so much the more to rejoice in the 
b*. goodness of God toward us; according to Isaiah Ixv: "Be- 
**■"" "■ hold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; behold, 
my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty; behold, 
my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed; behold, 
my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for 


* Sw pp. itA B. 

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The Infenul Bleiuiiig 157 

SOTTOW of heart; and shall howl for v^^tion of spirit. 
And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen." 
In short, as I have said,* the examples of those who die in 
their sins and are damned are profitable unto us for admoni- 
tion and instructioQ, as St. Gregory also observes in his 
Dialogues;* so that 

Happy Bie they iriio caution gun 
From that vriiidi caused another's paio. 

This blessing, indeed, affects xa but little, because it is 
so common and well known; nevertheless, it is to be ranked 
among the very highest blessings, and is coimted of no 
slight value by those who have an tmderstanding heart; 
and many are the passages of Scripture that bear upon it, 
those, namely, which treat of the wrath, the judgments, 
and the threatenings of God. These most wholesome 
teachings are confirmed to us by the examples of those 
wretched men; and their examples oidy then have their 
effect on us, when we enter into the feelings of them that 
endure such things, and put ourselves as it were in their 
very place. Then will they move and admonish us to praise 
the goodness of God, Who has presnved us from those 

But let us also compare them with God, that we may see 
the divine justice in their case. Although this is a difficult 
task, yet it must be essayed. Now, since God is a just 
Judge, we must love and laud His justice, and thus rejoice 
in our God, even when He miserably destroys the wi<^ed, 
in body and soul; for in all this His high, unspeakable 
justice shines forth. And so even heU, no less than 
heaven, is full of God and the highest good. For the jus- 
tice of God is God Himself; and God is tbe highest good. 
Therefore, even as His mercy, so must His justice or judg- 

«ltba teRiblacadal the wUed. 

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158 The Fourteen of Consolation 

ment be loved, praised, and glorified above all things. In 

Pi. 58;io this sense David says, "The righteous shall rejoice when he 
seeth the vengeance; he shall wash his feet in the blood of 
the wicked." It was for this reason that the Lord forbade 

I Sam. Samuel to mourn any longer for Saul (I. Samuel xvi), 
'*'' saying, "How long wilt thou moum for Saul, seeing I have 
rejected him from reigning over Israel?" As who should 
say, "Does My will so sorely displease thee, that thou 
preferrest the will of man to Me?" In short, this is the 
voice of praise and joy resounding through the whole 

Ps- 68:51 Psalter, — that the Lord is the judge of the widow, and a 
t40'i3 father of the fatherless; that He will maintain the cause 
of the afflicted, and the right of the poor; that His enemies 
i^all be confounded, and the ungodly shall perish; and 
many similar sayings. Should any one be inclined, in 
foohsh pity, to f^ compassion for that bloody generation, 
that kilieth the prophets, yea, the Son of God Himself, and 
for the company of wicked men, he will be found rejoicing 
in their iniquity, and approving their deeds. Such a one 
deserves to perish in like manner with them whose sins 

a Smb. he would condoue, and will hear the word, "Thou lovest 
"■* thine enemies, and hatest thy friends." For thus Joab 
said unto David, when he grieved too sorely over his im- 
pious and murderous son. 

Therefore, in this image, we ought to rejoice in the piety 
of all the saints, and in the justice of God which justly pun- 
ishes the persecutors of their piety, that He may deliver 
His elect out of their hands. And so you may see no small 
blessings, but the very greatest, ^ning forUi in the dead 
and damned; even the avenging of the injuries of the 
saints, and of your own as well, if you be righteous with 
them. What wonder, then, if God, by means of your 
present evil, should take vengeance also on your enemy, 
that is, the sin in your bodyl You ought the rather to 
rejoice in this work of the high justice of God, which, even 
without your prayer, is thus slaying and destroying your 
fiercest foe, namely, the sin that is within you. But, 

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The Infernal Blessing 159 

should you feel pity for it, you will be found a friend of sin, 
and an enemy to the justice that worketh in you. Of this 
beware; lest it be said also to you, "Thou lovest thine ene- 1 
mies, and hatest thy friends." Therefore, as you ou^t 
joyfully to consent to the justice of God when it rages 
against your sin, you should do even the same when it 
rages against sinners, those enemies of all men and of God. 
You see, then, that in the greatest evils may be found the 
greatest blessings, and that we are able to rejoice in these 
evils, not on accoimt of the evils themselves, but on ac- 
count of the supreme goodness of the justice of God our 

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Heke are our adversaries who are yet in this life; for in 
the foregoing image we considered those who are already 
damned and given over to devils. These we must regard 
with otha feelings, and find in them a twofold blessing. 
The first is this, that they abound in temporal goods, so 
that even the prophets were well nigh moved to envy 

P»- li-i t. thereby; as we read in Psahn hmi, "But as for me, my feet 
were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For 
I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of 

Pfc«:i» the wicked"; and again, "Behold, these are the imgodly, 
who prosper in the world; they increase in riches." And 

Jcf. u:t Jeremiah says, "Righteous art Thou, O Lord, when I plead 
with Thee: yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments: 
wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Where- 
fore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?" 
Why does He lavish and waste so many blessings upon 
them except to comfort us thereby, and make us to know 
how good He is to "such as are of a clean heart"? as it is 

Pi. jyi said in that same Psalm Ixzii. If He is so good to the 
wicked, how good will He not be to the good? Except that 
He does not vex the wicked with any evil, yet afflicts the 
good with many evils, in order that they may acknowledge 
His goodness to them not only in the present blessings, but 
even in those that are hidden and jret to come, and that 

F>. ir*i they may say, with the same Psahnist, "But it is good for 
me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord 
God." Which is as though he said. Even though I suffer 


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TbB Blesdng on the Left Hand i6i 

certain things, from which I see that those men are free, 
nevertheless I trust that God is far more good to me than 
He is to them. Thus the blessings which we see the 
wicked enjoy become to us an incentive to hope for those 
Mesungs which are not seen, and to despise the evils which 
we suffer. Even as Christ, in Mattkew vi, bids us behold 
the fowk of the air and the lilies of the field, saying, 
"Wherefore if God so clothe the grass, which to-day is, um. 
and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much *'** "" 
more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" Hence, by this 
comparison of the blessings in which the wicked abound 
with the evils that we suffer, our faith is exercised, and our 
consolation is placed in God alone, which is the only holy 
consolation. So doth He make all things work together for Rmd. S:iI 
good unto His saints. 

The other blessing, which is more marvelous, is this, 
that the evils of our adversaries become bles^ngs to us, 
under the providence of God. For though their sins are a 
stumbling-block to the weak, to such as are strong they are 
an exercise of virtue, and an opportunity for conflict and 
the amassing of greater merit.* For, "Blessed is the man Ju- i-.t* 
that eadureth temptation, for when he is tried, be shall 
receive the crown of life." What greater temptation can 
there be than a host of evil examples? For this reason, 
indeed, the world is called one of the enemies of God's 
saints, because with its allurements and xmgodly works it 
indtee, provokes, and entices us faxun the way of God to its 
own way. As we read in Genets vi, "The sons of God saw G«n.6:i,j 
the daughters of men, that they were fair, and they were 
made flesh." And in Numbers xxv, "The people of Israel Nam. 
began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab." '*■' '' 
So it is good for us to be always oppressed with some trouble 
or other, that we may not, in our weakness, stumble at 
the offences of the world, and fall into sin. Thus Lot is 
praised by Peter, in H. Peter ii., because he suffered many » p«l i* 

CDOfK p. 117, not*. 

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i63 The Foorteen of Consolatioii 

things because of the evil example of the people of Sodom, 
so that he made progress thereby in his righteousness. It 
must needs be that these offences come, which furnish us an 
occasion for conflict and for victory; but woe unto the worid 
because of offences! But if God procures us such great 
blessings in the sins of others, ^ould we not with our whole 
heart believe that He will work, us much greater blessings 
in our own troubles; even though our flesh and blood judge 
it to be otherwise! 

Nor does the world confer a smaller blessing on us from 
another dde of its evils; namely, its adversities. For, 
when it is unable to swallow us up with its allurements, 
and through its offences to ma^e us one with itself, it en- 
deavors through sufferings to drive us out, and through 
pains to cast us forth; always laying snares for us by the 
example of its sins, or else visiting its fury upon us throu^ 
the torment of its pains. This b indeed that fabled mon- 
ster, Cbimsra,' with the head of a maiden, seductive, 
the body of a lion, cruet, and the taU of a serpent, deadly. 
For the end of the world, both of its pleasures and its 
tyioDRy, is poison and death everlasting. Hence, even as 
God grants us to find our bles^gs in the ^ns <tf the world, 
so also its persecutions, that they may not remain fruitless 
and in vain, are appointed imto us to increase our blessings; 
so that the very things that work us harm are turned to our 
profit. As St. Augustine says, concerning the innocents 
slain by Herod, "Never could he have done them so much 
good with his favor as he did with his hatred." And Sl 
Agatha,* the blessed martyr, went to prison as to a banquet 
chamber; "for," said she, "except thou cause my body 
to be well broken by thy executioners, my soui will not 
be able to enter paradise, bearing the victor's palm; even 
as a grain of wheat, except it be stript of its husk, and 

* LMfaci here unite* the mjrtlidasicsl figuRs of chlmcn ind tlien. 

* An Italiu uint wboac feitival is obaerved oo February 5th, whoac «onUp 
BouriilM* opedBlly fn South Itkly tai Sicily, tad iriuK hiitorioil e ' 

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The Blessing on the Left Hand 163 

well beaten on the threshing-floor, is not gathered into 
the bam." 

But why waste words here, when we see the whole of the 
Scriptures, the writings and sayings of all the Fathers, and 
the lives and acts of all the saints, agreeing t(^ether in this 
matter; namely, that they who bring the most harm upon 
believers are their greatest benefactors, if only we bear with 
them in the right spirit. As St. Peter says, "And who is i Pet. 
he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is ''^ 
good?" And Psalm Izxxviii, "The enemy shall not exact r*. Sg^M 
upon him; nor the son of wickedness a£3ict him." How is it 
that he shall not harm us, seeing that oftentimes he even Rom. 
kills us? Because, forsooth, in harming us he is working us ^ 
the very greatest gain. Thus we find ourselves every way 
dwelling in the midst of blessings, if we are wise, and yet, 
at the same time, also in the midst of evils. So wondrously 
are all things tempered together under the rule of the good- 
ness of God. 

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Tms is the Church of the saints, the new creation of 
God, our brethren and our friends, in whom we see naught 
but blessing, naught but consolation; not, indeed, always 
with the eyes of tfie flesh (to which they would appear to 
belong rather under the corresponding image of evils),> 
but with the eyes of the spirit Nevertheless, we must 
not disregard even those bles^gs of thdrs which may be 
seen, but rather learn from them how God would comfort 
us. For even the Psalmist did not venture, in Psalm Izxii, 
to condemn all those who amass riches in this world, but 

pb- t]:i5 said, "If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend 
against the generation of Thy children." That is to say, 
If I should call all men wicked who possess riches, health, 
and honor, I should be condemning even Thy saints, of 
I "nm. whom there are many such. Paul also instructs Timothy 
'"' to charge them that are rich in this world, that they be 
not high minded; but he does not forbid them to be rich. 
And Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were rich men, as the 

Dui. Scriptures record. Daniel, also, and his companions were 

'^ '■ raised to honor even in Babylon. Moreover many of the 

kings of Judah were saintly men. It is with regard to such 

ft- 73:15 persons that the Psalmist says, "If I say, I will speak thus; 
b^old, I should offend against the generation of Thy 
children." God gives, even to His people, an abundance 
of these blessii^, for their own comfort, and the comfort 
of others. Still, these things are not their pr(^>er blessings, 

> See pp. 13] IF. 


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The Blessiiig on flu Right Hand 165 

but only shadows and emblems of their true blessings, 
which consist in faith, hope, love, and other gifts and graces, 
which love communicates to all. 

This is the cmmnunion of saints, in which we glory. 
And whose heart will not be lifted up, even in the midst 
of great evils, when he believes that which is indeed the 
very truth; namely, that the blessings of all the saints are 
hia blessings, and that his evil is also theirsi For this is 
the sweet and pleasant picture which the Apostle Paul 
depicts, in Galatians vi, "Bear ye one another's burdens, cd. 6:* 
and so fulfil the law of Christ." Is it not a blessing to be in 
such a company in which, "whether one member suffer, all t Cor. 
the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, "'** 
all the members rejoice with it"? as it is said in I. Corin- 
thians vi.^ Hierefore, when I suffer, I suffer not alone, but 
Qirist and all Christians suffer with me; as He saith, "He z«a. aJ 
that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of My eye." Even 
so others bear my burden, and their strength becomes my 
own. The Church's faith supports my fearfulness, the 
chastity of others bears the temptations of my flesh, the 
fastings of others are my gain, the prayer of another 
[deads for me. In short, such care have tiLemembersone 
for another, that the comely parts cover, serve, and honor 
the uncomely; as it is beautifully set forth in I. Corin- t Oar. 
thians vi.* And so I can truly glory in the blessings of ""* "' 
others as though they were my own; and they are truly 
my own when I find joy and pleasure therein. Let me, 
then, be base and vile; yet they whom I love and admire 
are fair and beautiful. And by my love I make not only 
their blessings, but their very selves my own; so that by 
their honor my shame is made honorable, by their abun- 
dance my poverty is filled, by their merits my sins are 
healed. Who, then, could despair in his sins? Who would 
not rejoice in his pains? For it is not he that bears bis 
sins and pains; or if he does bear them, he bears them not 
alone, but is assisted by so many holy sons of God, yea, 

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i66 The Fourteen of ConsolaUon 

even by Christ Himself. So great a thing is the com- 
munion of saints, and the Church of Christ.' 

If any one does not believe this, he is an infidel, and has 
denied Christ and the Church. For even if it should not be 
perceived yet it is true; but who could fail to perceive it? 
For why is it that you do not sink in despair, or grow im- 
patient? Is it your strength? Nay: it is the communion 
of saints. Otherwise you could not bear even a venial 
sin,* nor endure a word of man against you. So close to 
you are Christ and the Church. It is this that we confess 
in the Creed, "I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy 
Catholic* Church." What is it to believe in the holy 
Church but to believe in the communion of saints. But 
what things have the saints in common? Blessings, for- 
sooth, and evils; all things belong to all; as the Sacrament 
of the Altar signifies, in the bread and wine, where we are 
all said by the Apostle to be one body, one bread, one cup.* 
For who can hurt any part of the body without hurting the 
whole body? What pain can we feel in the tip of the toe 
that is not felt in the whole body? Or what honor can be 
shown to the feet in which the whole body will not rejoice? 
But we are one body. Whatever another suffers, that I 
suffer and bear; whatever good befalls him, befalls me. 
So Christ says that whatsoever is done unto one of the 
' least of His brethren, b done unto Him. If a man partake 

' For tbe vaiioiu iaterpicutions of the "commanion ot uint>" unong medieval 
thcolosiuis, see Reinh. Seebuo, Lehrbuch der DogmeDBescbicbte, 
lit ed., vol. ii, p. 117, note. Luther, intbe Sermon von dem hoch- 
wUrdigen Sacmment del heUfgen wihren LeichnBmi 
C h r i s t i (ijiq). itill accepts the phnu u meaiuiig the putic^iatiaD in the 
SuiFunent, and through it Che putidpatioa in "the q>iritu>l poEK^nons of Christ 
and Hii sainti." In oui treatiae, it is taken as (he definition of tile " the holy 
Catholic Church," in the sense of s oommuDion with the saJnts. InThe Papacy 
a I Rome (later in the some ycoi), it iKComea the c<Humunion or community (con- 

claasical pasuge in the Large Catechism (1519); "i 
iemeinichaft, sondera Gemeine." 
■Sec A Diicusiion of Confession, above, p. BB. 

* Changed to "Christian" is the CMecbimt (i5ip)> although the Latin ti 
iticKu retain catholicam. 

* The Apostle does not say, "one cup." 

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The BlesBing on die Ri^t Hand 167 

of the smallest fragment of the bread of the altar, is he not 
said to have partaken of the bread? If he despise one 
crumb of it, is he not said to have despised the br^? 

When we, therefore, feel pain, when we siiffer, when we 
die, let us turn hither our eyes,' and firmly believe and be 
sure that it is not we, or we alone, but that Christ and the 
Church are in pain, are suffering, are dying with us. For 
Christ would not have us go alone into the valley of death, 
from which all men shrink in fear; but we set out upon the 
way of pain and death attended by the whole Church, and 
the Church bears the brunt of it aU. Therefore, we can 
with truth apply to ourselves the words of Elisba, which 
he spake to his timid servant, "Fear not: for they that be » Kingt 
withusaremorethanthey that be with them. And Elisha "''*'■ 
prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he 
may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young 
man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was fuU of 
horses and chariots of fire round about Ehsha." Tliis one 
thing remains for us also ; namely, to pray that our eyes may 
be opened (I mean the eyes of our faith), that we may see 
the Church round about us. Then there will be nothing 
for us to fear; as it is said also in Psalm cxxiv, "Moimtains F>. 115'.* 
are round about it: so the Lord is round about His people 
from henceforth now and for ever."' 

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I DO not now speak of the eternal blessings of Heaven, 
which the blessed enjoy in the perfect vision of God; or 
father, I do speak of them in faith, and in so far as they 
some within our comprehension. For this seventh image 
is Jesus Christ, the King of glory, rising from the dead; even 
as, in His Passion and death. He formed the seventh image 

Kom. 6.g of cvils.* Here there is nothing at all of evil; for "Christ, 
being risen from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no 

h>. 31:0 more dominion over him." Here is that furnace of love 

iw. 9^6 and fire of God in Zion; as Isaiah saith. For Christ is not 
only bom unto us, but He is also given unto us. There- 
fore, His resurrection, and all that He wrought by it, are 

Rom. S:ji mine, and, as the Apostle exults in exuberant joy, "how bath* 
He not a^, with Him, given us all things?" But what is 
it that He hath wrought by His resurrection? Why, He 
hath destroyed sin and brought righteousness to light, 
abolished death and restored life, conquered hell and be- 
stowed on us everlasting glory. These are such inesti- 
mably precious blessings that the mind of man dare acanx 
believe that they have become ours; as it was with Jacob, 

cen. in Genesis xlv, who, when he heard that his son Joseph 

**■■"• was ruler in Egypt, was like one awakened out of deep 

slumber, and believed them not, until, after telling him all 

the words of Joseph, they showed him the wagons that 

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Tlw Supenul Bleuiiig 169 

Joseph had sent. So difficult, indeed, would it be for us to 
believe that in Christ such great blessings have been con- 
ferred on us unworthy creatures, did He not teach us to 
believe it, with many words, and by the evidence of our 
own experience; even as He manifested Himself to His dis- Acts 1:3 
cq>les* in divers appearan<%s. Such are our "Joseph's 
wagons." This is indeed a most goodly "w^on," that 
He is made imto us of God righteousness, and sanctifica- iCar.i:jo 
tion, and redemption, and wisdom; as the Apostle saith in 
I. Corinthians i. For, I am a sinner; yet am I drawn in 
Hia righteousness, which is given me. I am unclean; but 
Hia holiness is my sanctification, in which I pleasurably 
tide. I am an ignorant fool; but Hia wisdom carries me 
forward. I have deserved condenmation; but I am set free 
by His redemption, a wagon in which I sit secure. So 
that a Christian, if he but believe it, may boast of the 
merits of Christ and all His blessings, even as if he had vroa 
them all himself. So truly are they his own, that he may 
even dare to look boldly forward to the judgment of God, 
unbearable though it be. So great a thing is faith, such 
blessings does it bring us, such glorious sons of God does 
it make us. For we cannot be sons without inheriting our 
Father's goods. Let the Christian say, then, with full 
confidence: "O death, where is thy victory? O death, ■ Ca. 
where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the '^'" ' 
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God,* which 
gjveth us the victory through our Z^rd Jeaus Christ." 
That is to say, the law makes us sinners, and sin makes us 
guilty of death. Who hath conquered Uiese twain? Was 
it our righteousness, or our life? Nay: it was Jesus Christ, 
rising from the dead, condemning sin and death, bestowing 
on us His merits, and holding His hand over us. And now 
it is well with us, we keep the law, and vanquish sin and 
death. For all which be honor, praise, and thanksgiving 
unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 

* Compan the diSatoit lonn of tbi* vOM DO p. lai. 

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X70 The Fottrteen of Consolatioo 

This, then, is the highest image of all, in which we aie 
lifted up, not only above our evils, but above o»ir blessings 
as well, and are set down amid strange blessings, brought 
together by another's labor; whereas we formerly lay among 
evils, heaped up by another's ^,' and added to by our 
own. We are set down, Z say, in Christ's righteousness, 
with which He Himself is ri^teons; because we ding to 
that righteousness by which He is well pleasing to God, 
intercedes for us as our Mediator, and gives Himself 
wholly to be our own, as our High-Priest and Protector. 
Therefore, as it b impossible that Christ, with His right- 
eousness, should not please God, so it is impossible that we 
should not please Him. Hence it comes that a Christian 
is almighty, lord of all,* having all things, and doing all 
things, wholly without sin. And even if he have sins, 
they can in no wise harm him, but are forgiven for the sake 
of the inexhaustible righteousness of Christ that swallow- 
eth up all sins, on which our faith relies, firmly trusting 
that He is such a Christ unto us as we have described. 
But if any one does not believe this, he hears the tale with 
deaf ears,' and does not know Christ, and understands 
neither what blessings He hath nor how they may be 

Therefore, if we considered it aright and with atten- 
tive hearts, this image alone would suffice to fill us with so 
great comfort that we should not only not grieve over our 
Sob. s'j evils, but even glory in our tribularions, nay, scarcely feel 
them, for the joy that we have in Christ. In which glory- 
Rom. 9:5 ing may Christ Himself instruct us, our Lord and God, 
blessed for evermore. Amen. 

' He means the tin ol A(Um. 

*Tbegermo< The Liberty of 1 ChristisD Mid (i5n>). 

'CI. Temicc'i lucdo nitrare Iftbnlatii. Ue>DtOQ.,Mi. 

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With these prattlings of mine, Most Blustrioua Prince, 
in token of my willingness to serve your Lordship to the 
best of my poor ability, I commend myself to your Dlus- 
trious Lordship, being ready to bring a worthier offering, 
if ever my mental powers shall equal my desires. For I 
shall always remain a debtor to every neighbor of mine, 
but most of all to your Lordship, whom may our Lord 
Jesus Christ, in His merciful kindness, long preserve to us, 
and at last by a blessed death take home to Himself. 

Your Most Illustrious Lordship's 
Brothek Mastin LnxHEK, 
XHpwItfiMH at WUUiibtrt. 

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I. Tba Occuloa of tta Wock. — Luthn did not impose hinuelf a 
fotmet I4M0 tlie QiurdL In the coivse of a consdentious perfon 
tt the duties of his office, to which he fasd b«ai regularly and divinely 
calkd, and without any urgiiig on his part, he attained to this positioo 
by iowud necessity. In 1515 1m received Iiis appointment as the standing 
substitute for the sickly dty pastor, Simon Heinse, from the dty coundl 
of Wittenberg. Befcne this time be was obliged to preach only occk- 
Mcoally in the convent, apart from his activity as teacher in the University 
and convenL Through this ^tpnntment he was in duty bound, by divine 
and human li^t, to lead and direct the congi^ation at Wittenberg oo 
the true way to life, and it would have been a denial of the knowledge ttf 
lalvatiiMi which God had led him to acquire, by way of ardent inner strug- 
^es, if he had led the congrcgatim on any other way than the one God 
bad revealed to him in His Word. He could not deny before the omgie- 
gation iriiich had been intrusted to his care, what up to thia time he had 
taught with ever incrcaaing deamess in his lectures at the Unrvemty — 
for in the lectures on the Psalms, which he began to deliver in 1513, he de- 
dares his conviction that faitb aloae jintifitt, as can be seen from the 
coo^ilete manuscript, published since iSSj, and with still greater deamess 
from his Commentary on the Epistle to the R<HnanB (1515-1516), which 
is accessibte since igoS; new what he had urged as spiritual adviser lA 
his convent brethren when in deep diatreaa — cotnpaic the charming letter 
to Georg Spenldn, dated April 8, 1516,' 

Luther's first literary wttfks to Appear in print were also occarioned 
by the work of his calling and of his office in the Wittenberg congregation. 
He had no other object in view than to edify his congregation and to lead 
it to Christ when, in 1517, he published his first indeperulent work, the 
Explanation of the Seven Penitential Psalms. On 
Oct 31 of the same year he published bis 95 Theses against In- 
dulgences. These were indeed intended as controversial theses for 
tbetdogiaiu, but at the same time it is well known that Luther was 

>{Ein>EKS, Luther's Brief wechsel, I, p. 39.) Luther ben writti: 
Lean Christ, deu Brother, learn Christ crudfied; kun to ting unto Hun and, 
despairing of sell, to say: "Thou, Lord Jcaus, art my righteousness. I, however, 
am Tby sin. Thou hast takoi unto Tfaytdf what was mine, and hast given me 
what li Thine." In this faith, rccdve the erring brethren, make their lins your 
own. and if you have anything good, let it be ttidis. 

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176 TreatiBe on Good WoAs 

movecl by his duty toward his coogregatioa to declare his position io this 
matter and to put in issue the whole question as to the right and wrong 
of indulgences by means of his theses. His sermon Of Indulgences 
and Grace, occasioned by Tetzel's attack and delivered in the latter 
partof March, ijiS, as well as his sermon Of Penitence, delivered 
about the same time, were also intended for his craigrq^ti<». Before 
his congregation (Sq>t., 1516-Feb., 1517) he delivered the Sermons 
on the Ten Commandments, which were published in 1518, 
and the Sermons on the Lord's Prayer, which were also 
published in 1518 by Agricola. Though Luther in the same year pub- 
lished a series of controversial writings, which were occadcmed 1:^ attacks 
from outside sources, viz., the Resolutiones disputation! s de 
virtute indulgentiarum, the Asterisci adversus obe- 
liscos Job. Eccii, and the Ad dialogum Silv. Prieriatis 
responsio, still he never was diverted by this neceuary rebuttal 
from his paramount duty, the edification of the congregation. The 
autumn of the year 1518, when be was confronted with Cajetan, as well 
as the whcde year of 1519, when he held his diqmtations with Eck, etc, 
were replete with disquietude and i»esaing labors; still Luther served his 
congT^ation with a whole series of writings during this time, and only 
regretted that he was not entirely at its disposal. Of such writings we 
mention: Explanation of the Lord's Prayer for the simple Laity (an 
elaboration of the sermons of 1517)1 Brief Explanation of the Ten Com- 
mandments; Instruction concerning certain Articles, which might be as- 
cribed and imputed to him by his adversaries; Brief Instruction how to 
Confess; Of Meditation on the Sacred Passion of Christ; Of Twofdd 
Righteousness; Of the Matrimonial Estate; Brief Form to understand 
and to pray the Lord's Prayer; Explanation of the Lord's Prayer "vot 
-dch und hinter sich"; Of Prayer and Processions in Rogation Week; 
Of Usury; Of the Sacrament of Penitence; Of Prqwration for Death; Of 
the Sacrament of Baptism; Of the Sacrament of the Sacred Body; Of 
Excommunication. With but few exceptions these writings all speared 
bi print ia the year 1519, and again it was the congregation which 
Luther sought primarily to serve. If the bounds of his congregation 
-spread ever wider beytMid Wittenberg, so that bis writings found a sur- 
priangly ready sale, even afar, that was not Luther's fault. Even the 
Tessaradecas consolatoria,* written in 1519 and printed b 
1530, a book of conscriatian, which was originally Intended for the sick 
Hector of Saxony, was written by him only upon solicitation from out- 
aide sources. 

To this circle of writings the treatise Of Good Works also belongs. 
Though the incentive for its composition came from George Spalatin, 
-court-preacher to the Elector, who reminded Luther of a promise he had 

'Above, pp. 103-171. 

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Introduction 177 

given, BtiQ Luther was willing to undeitake it <aily when he lecaUed that 
in ft previous sarmon to his congiegatioD he occasionally had made a timilar 
prmnise to deliver a sermiMi on good works;' and when Luther actually 
commenced the composition he bad nothing else in view but the prepara- 
tion of a sermon for his congr^ation on this important topic. 

But while the work was in progress the Tviarjn'al go accumulated that 
it far outgrew the bounds of a sermon for his congregation. On March 
95. he wrote to Spatatin that it would become a whole booklet instead of a 
sermon; on May 5. he again emphasizes the growth of the material; on 
May 13. he speaks of its completion at an early date, and on June 8. he 
could send Melancbthim a printed copy. It was entitled: Von den 
gutenwerckenn: D. M. L. Vuittenherg. On the last page 
it bore the printer's mark: Getruck zu Wittenberg bey dem 
iungen Melchior Lotther. Im Tausent funfhundert 
vnndiweyntzigstenjar. It filled not less than 58 leaves, quarto. 
In spite of its volume, however, the intention of the book for the congregation 
remained, now however, not only for the narrow circle of the Wittenberg con- 
gr^ation, but for the Christian layman in general. In the dedicatory preface 
Lutherlaysthegreateststressupon this, forfae writes: "Though I know of a 
great many, and must hear it daily, who think lightly of my poverty and say 
that I write only small Seitcmlein (tracts of small volume) and German 
Ktmons for the untaught laity, I will not permit that to move me. Would 
to God that during my life I had served but one layman for bis betterment 
with all my powers; it would be sufficient for me, I would thank God and 
suffer all my books to perish thereafter. . . . Most willingly I will 
leave the honor of greater things to otheis, and not at all will I be ashamed 
of preaching and writing German to the untaught laity." 

Since Luther had dedicated the afore-mentioned Tessaradecas con- 
■ olatoria to the reigning Prince,' he now, pi<^>ably on Spalatin's recom- 
mendation, dedicated the Treatise rai Good Works to his brother John, who 
afterward, in 151;, succeeded Frederick in the Electorate. There was 
probably good reason foe dedicating the book to a member of the reigning 
bouse. Princes have reason to take a qiedal interest in the fact that 
preaching on good works should occur within their realm, for the safety 
and sane development of thor kingdom depend hugely upon the culti- 
vation of morality on the part of their subjects. Time end again the papal 
church bad commended herself to princes and statesmen by her emphatic 
teaching of good works. Luther, on the other hand, had been accused — 

'On Pd>. 14, Lather answered Spalatin: De sermone bonornm 
operum nihil memini; scd et tot Jam edldi, ut ptricu- 
lum sit, oe emtores tandem fatigsmi but on Fd>. a6, he wrote 

, I, p. 419, *tt, 430 ff.) 

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xTS Treatise on Good Works 

like the Apostle Paul before him (Rom. 3:31) — that the zealous perfoimajiu 
of good works had abated, that the boids of disdpliDe had slackened and 
that, as a necessary craisequence, lanlessness and shameless immorality 
woe being promoted by his doctrine of justification by faith alone. Bdorc 
1517 the rumor bad already spread that Luther intended to do away with 
good worits. Duke George of Saxony had received no good impression 
from a sermon Luther had delivered at Dresden, because he feared the 
consequences wliicb Luther's doctrine of justification by faith alone might 
have upMi the mo.als of the masses. Under these circumstuices it 
would not have been surprising if a member of the Electoral house should 
harbor like scruples, especially since the^ fulL-EDiRpr^^giaa oO^Ulher's 
preaching^on C^ld-ffPrVB '^'^p"■^'^^ "" ■■" i—ap^^Hral ^^[^^^l^^a.^,l iaK of 
falth.'as deep_a3 was Lutfay's owl). The Middle Ages had differentiated 
. iKtweoi ITd es informis.a formless faith, and fides (ormataor 
' informeta, a toimed or ornate faith. The former was held to be a 
, knowledge without any life or effect, the latter to be identical with love, 
I for, as they said, love which proves itself and is effective in good works 
j must be added to the formless faith, as its complement and its content, 
' well pleasing to God. In Luther's time every one who was seriously In- 
1 terested in religious questions was reared under the infiueuce of these 
; Ideas.' 

Now, since Luther had opposed the doctrine of justification by love 
Vkd its good works, he was m danger of being misunderstood by strangers, 
as though he held the bare knowledge and assent to be sufficient for justi- 
fication, and such preaching would indeed have led to frivolity and dis- 
orderly conduct. But even apart fnnn the question whether or twt 
the brother of the Electw was disturbed by such scruples, Luther must 
have welcomed the opportuni^, when the munmoas came to him, to 
dedicate his book Of Good Works to a member of the Electoral 
bouse. At any rate the book could serve to acquaint him with the thoughts 
of his much-abused pastor and professor at Wittenberg, for never before 
had Lutber expressed himself on the important question of good works in 
such a fundameatol, thorough and profound way. 

1. n* ConMnts of tha Work.— A perusal of the contents shows that the 
book, in the course of its production, attained a greater length than was 
ori^ally intended. To this fact it must be attributed that a new numcra- 
tiMi of sec^ons begins with the argument on the Third Commandment, 
and is repeated at every Commandment thereafter, while before this the 

* We mention but one of many testimonies. John Dietenbecger in his book. D c t 
leye. Obe dec gelaub ■Ilein sellg in&chc, prioted in Strasdmrt. 
1513. »ys on leaf Bit: "Faith is a gift of God, wUdt may appear bare or 
ornate; still it remains but one fslth. which, however, bas another effect when ornate 
ttum when tiare. Ornate faith makes man ■ child of grace, an heir oS the kingdom 
of heavEn and justiGnl. Bsre faith, however, does not separate man from devil', 
helps not to the kingdom of beavcn, and kad* to no juitificatian." 

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Introduction 179 

Mctions were consecutively Dimtbend. But in s[Hte of this, the plan of the 
whole is clear and lucid. Evidently the whole treatise is divided into two 
puts: the first coiupriwig sectioiu t~i7, while the second comprises all 
the following sections. Hie first, being fundamental, Is the more important 
part. Luther wdl knew of the charges made against him that "faith is so 
highly devated" and "works are rejected" by him; but he knew, too, that 
"neither silver, gold and precious stone, nor any other precious thing had 
experienced so much augmentation and diminution" as had good works 
"which should all have but one simple goodness, or they are nothing but 
color, ^tter and deception." But especially was he aware of the fact that 
the Church was urging nothing but the so-called self-elected works, such 
, aa "running to the convent, singing, reading, playing the organ, saying the 
mass, praying matins, veq>ers, and other hours, founding and ornamenting 
churches, altars, convents, gathering chimes, jewels, vestments, gems and 
treasures, going to Rmne and to the saints, curtsying and bowing the knees, 
praying the rosary and the psalter," etc., and that she designated these 
alone as truly good works, while she represented the faithful performance 
of the duties of one's calling as a morality of a lower order. For these 
leasoni it is Ljjthfr's hi^iest object in this treatise to make it perfectly 
_de8r_wlMit is the essence of good wmks. Whenever the essence of good 
works has been understood, then the accuaaticHis against bim will quickly 

tn the fundamental part he therefore argues; Truly good works 
are not self -elected works of monastic or any othi 
holiness, but such only aa God has commands 
and as are comprehended within the bounds • 
one's particular calling, and all works, let the 
name be what it may, become good only when th4 
flow from faith, the "first, greatest, and noble 
of good works." (John 6:19.) In this connecttcm the esses 
of faith, that only source of all truly good works, must of course be rightly 
understood. It f; tbejRue cQofiilmceJiL God, that all my doing is well- 
pleasing to tfim; it_is trust in His mercjt even though He a[^>eaTS angry and 
puts suSeiings and adversities upon us; it is the assurance pf the divine 
j^od will even thou^ "God should reprove the conscience with sin, death 
and hell, and deny it all grace and mercy, as though He would condemn and 
show Hb wrath eternally." Where such faith lives in the heart, there the 
works are good "even thou^ they were as inngnificant as the picking up 
irf a straw"; but where it b wanting, there are only such works as "heathen, 
Jew and Turic" may have and do. Where such faith possesses the man, 
he needs no teacher hi good works, as little as does the husband or the wife, 
who only look for love and favor from one another, noc need any instruction 
therein "how they are to stand toward esch other, what they are to do, to 
leave undone, to say, to leave unsaid, to think." 

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i8o Treatise on Good Worte 

This fai th, Luther continue*, ia "the tr u e (ulfilment of the F r** rntwTtiiinH- 

//. ipent , apart from which there is no work that could do justice to this 

Comm&DdmeDt." With this sentence he combines, on the one hand, the 

'' •'^ . whcde argument m faith, as the best and noblest of good works, with bis 

yy Opening pn^KMition (there are no good works beddes those commanded 

,, / of God), and, on the other hand, be prepares the iray for the foliowingargu- 

0, meat, wherein he prcqx»es to exhibit the good works accrading to the Ten 

'<^ Commandments. For the First Commandment does not forbid this and 

that, nor does it require this and that; it forbids but one thing, unlielief; 

it requires but one thing, faith, "that confidence u God's good wiU at all 

times." Without this faith the best works are as nothing, and if man 

^ould think that by them he could be well-pleasng to God, be would be 

lowering God to the level of a "broker or a laborer who will not di^iense 

his grace and kindness gratis." 

This understanding (rf faith and good works, so Luther now addresses 
his oppiwents, should inMmessbek^t in view by Uiose who accuse him of 
declaiming against good works, and they should leain from it, that though 
be has preached against "good works," it was against such as are falsely 
BO called and as ccmtribute toward the confusim of consciences, because 
they are self-elected, do not flow fnnu faith, and are done with the preten- 
ikm of doing works well'fileasing to God. 

This brings us to the end of the fundamental part ot the treatise. It 
was not Luther's intentitm, however, to speak only on the essence of good 
works and their fundamental relation to faith; he would show, too, how the 
"best work," faith, must [Hxjve itself in every way a living faith, according 
to the other commandments. Luther does not proceed to this part, how- 
ever, until in the fundamental part he has said with emiriiasis, that the 
believer, the spiritual man, needs no such instruction (I. Timothy 1:9), 
but that he of bis own accord and at all times does good wi»ks "as his faith, 
his confidence, teaches him." Only "because we do not all have such faith, 
or are unmindful of it," does such instruction become nectwary. 

Nor does he proceed until he has ai^ed his oft rqxated words c<m- 
ceming the relation of faith to good works to the relation of the First to the 
other Onnmandments. From the fact, that according to the First Coat- 
mandment, we acquire a pure heart and confidence toward God, he derives 
the good work of the Second Commandment, namely, "to praise God, to 
acknowledge His grace, to render all honor to Him alone." From the same 
source he derives the good wwk of the Third OHnmandment, namely, "to 
observe divine services with prayer and the hearing of preaching, to incline 
the Imagination of our hearts toward God's benefits, and, to that end, to 
mortify and overc<Hne the flesh." From the same source he derives the 
works (A the Second Table. 

The argument on the Third and Fourth Comfflandments dahni 
neariy one-half <rf the entire treatise. Among the good works which, ac> 

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Introduction i8i 

conUiig to the Third OnnmaixlmeDt, should be an exerdse uid proof of 
futh, Luther cspedsUy meotiwu the pioptt btuiag <A mass uid of preach- 
bg, ctnnmon pnyer, bodily diadidine and the moitificatlcm of the Oedi, 
and he joins the fcwmer and the latter by an important fundamental dis- 
cussion of the New Testament conception of Sabbath rest. 

Luther discusses the Fourth Comnuodment as fully as the Third. 
The czerdse of faith, according to this Cccnmandment, consists in the 
faitliful performance of the duties of children toward their parents, of 
parents toward their children, and of subordinates toward their superkn 
b the Ecdesiaatical as well as in the ccmmon dvil qiliere. The various 
duties issue from the various callings, for faithful performance of the duties 
of one's calling, with the help of God and for God's sake, is the true "good 
I work," 

AshenowproceedstoqieBkof the spiritual powers, thegovem- 
ment of the Church, be frankly reveals their faults and demands a reform (rf 
the present rulers. Honor and obedience in all things should be rendered 
unto the Church, the qiiritual mother, as it is due to natural parents, unless 
it be contrary to the first Three Commandmeots. But as matters stand 
now the spiritual magistrates neglect their peculiar work, namely, the fo»> 
teiing of godliness and discipline, like a mother who runs away from her 
chndreD and follows a lever, and instead they undertake strange and evil 
works, like parents whose commands are contrary to God. In this case 
members of the Church must do as godly children do whose parents have 
become mad and insane. Kings, princes, the nobility, municipalities and 
communities must begin of their own accord and put a check to theae 
cotiditions, so that the bishops and the clergy, who are now too timid, 
may be induced to follow. But even the civil magistrates must 
also suffer reforms to be enacted in their particular spheres^ eqiedally 
are they called on to do away with the rude "gluttony and drunkenness," 
luxury in clothing, the usurious sale of rents and the common brothels. 
This, by divine and human right, is a part of their enjoined works according 
to the Fourth CtHnmandmmL 

Luther, at lost, briefly treats of the Second Table of the Commandments, 
but in speaking of the wnks of these Commandments he never forgets 
to point out their relation to faith, thus holding fast this fundamental thought 
of the book to the end. Faith which does not doubt that God is gracious, 
be says, will find it an easy matter to be graciously and favorably minded 
toward one's neij^bOT and to overcome all angry and wrathful desires. 
In this faith in God the Spirit will teach us to avoid unchaste thoughts 
and thus to keep the ^th Commandment When the heart trusts in the 
divine favor, it caimot seek after the temporal goods of others, nor cleave 
to money, but according to the Seventh Commandment, will use it with 
cheerful hlierality for the benefit of the neighb<v. Where such confidence 
is present tliere is ^w a courageous, strong and intrepid heart, which will 

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i83 Treatise on Good Works 

■t bU times defend the truth, as the Eighth CommuidmeDt detnands, 
whether neck or coat be at stake, whether it be agkinst pc^ or ki&ea. 
Where such faith Is present there is also strife against the evil lust, as foi^ 
bidden in the Ninth and Tenth ConunandmeDts, and tliat even unto 

3. The Importance of the Work. — Iziqiuring now bto the importance of 
the book, we note that Luther's impression evidoitly was perfectly conect, 
whcnfaewTote to Spalatm, long before its comi^etion— as eaity as March 15. 
— tliat he believed it to be better than anything he had heretofwe written. 
Hie book, indeed, surpasses all his previous German writings in volume, as 
well as all iiis Latin and German oata hi clearness, richness and the funda- 
mental importance of its content. In comparison with the prevalent urg- 
ing of self-elected works of mtHikish bcdinecs, which had ariieD frmn a 
complete misunderstanding of the so-called evangdical coimads (comp. e^ 
Matthew ig:i6-i3) and which were at that time accepted as self-evident 
and zealously urged by the whole churdi, Luther's argument must have 
appeared to all thoughtful and earnest souls as a revelation, when he so 
cleaiiy amplified the proposition that only those wo rks are tobeje^rded 
as good works which God has c^smand^.and that therefore, not theaban- 
doiung of one's earthly calling, but the faithful keeping of the Ten Command- 
ments in the course of one's calling, is the wOTk which God requires of us. 
Over against the wide-qiread opinion, as though the will of God as declared 
in the Ten Commandments referred only to the outward work always espb' 
^cially mentioned, Luther's argument must have caUed to mind the explana- 
tion of the Law, which the Lord had given in the Sermon mi the Mount, 
when he taught men to recognize only the extreme point and manifes- 
tation of a whole trend of thought in the work prohibited by the text, and 
i when he directed Christians not to rest in the keeping of the literal require- 
; ment of each Commandment, but from this point of vantage to bquire into 
l.,the whole depth and breadth irf God's wQl— positively and n^ativdy— 
and to do His will in its full extent aa the heart has perceived iL Though 
this thought may have been occauonally eipccased in the expositions of the 
Ten Commandmoits which i^ipcared at the dawn oi the Reformation, BtHI 
it had never before been so deariy recognized as the only correa principle, 
much less had it been so energetically carried out from beginning to end, as 
is done in this treatise. Over against the deep-rooted view that the works 
of love must bestow upon faith its form, its content and its worth befon 
God, it must have ^ipcaicd as the dawn of a new era (Galatians 3:13-35) 
iriten Luther in this treatise declared, and with victorious certjdutjr cartied 
out the thought, that it is true faith which mvcsts the works, even the bett 
and greatest of works, with their content and worth before God. 

This preposition, which Luther here amplifies more deariy than ever 
befme, demanded nothing ieu than a breach with the whole of prevalent 
tcUgious views, and at that time nuat have been pcfceived aa tbe dbcovciy 

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Litroductioa 183 

of a neir world, though it wu do more thui a returo to the dear teaching 
ot the New Testament Saiptuies coDcetning the way of saJvation. Thb, 
too, aaxiimts for the fact that in this writing the accuaation is more impie»- 
dvely readied than before, ttiat the doctrine <rf justification by faith alcme 
Ksulted in moral laxity, and that, on the other hand, the fundamental and 
radical importance of righteousness by faith for the whide moral life b 
revealed in such a heart-refreahing manner. Luthei'a ^)peal in this 
treatiK to kings, princes, the nobility, municipalities and communities, to 
declare against the misuse of spiritual powers and to abolish various abuses 
in civil life, marks this treatise as a foienmner of the great Reformation 
writings, which appeared in the same year (1510), while, on the other hand, 
his e^Nmsal of the li^ta of the "poor man" — to be met with here for the 
first time — shows that the Monk of Witttcnberg, coming from the nanow 
limits of the convent, had an intimate and synqwthetk knowledge of the 
social needs of bis time. Thus he ptoved by Us own eiaiiqile that to take 
a stand in the center at the Goapd does not narrow the vision nor harden the 
heart, but rather produces courage in the truth and sympathy for all 
manner (tf misery. 

Luther's contempoimries at once tecogoized the great importance of the 
treatise, for within the period of seven months it passed throu^ ei^t 
editions; these were followed by six mme editions between the yean ol 
1511 and rs^s; m 1511 it was ttautated into Latin, and in this form passed 
through three editimis up to the year 1515; and all this in qnte of the fact 
that In tboee yean the so-called three great Refc»mation writings of 1530 
were casting all dse into ttw shadow. Melanchthon, b a cootanporaneoui 
letter to Jidm Hess, called it Luther's best book. J<din Mathedus, the 
wdl-known pastm at Joadumsthal and Luther's biognpher, acknowledged 
that be bad learned the "rudiments of Christianity" from it- 

Evea to-day this book has its peculiar mianon to the Church. The seek- 
ing after kU -ehcted woAs, the ind(rfence regarding the works commanded 
of God, the fooUih opinion, that the path of wo^ leads to God's grace 
end good-wilt, are even to-day widdy prevalent within the kingdom ot God. 
To aU this Luther's treatise answen: Be diligent in the works of your 
earthly calling as commanded of God, but only after tiaving first strength- 
ened, by the coaridnatioo of God's mctcy, the faith within you, irtilch ia tht 
otily source of aU truly good works end wdt-^eadng to God. 

If. REV. 

WABnoM Sbhikabt, Dvbvqub, Iowa. 

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To the Illustrious, High-born Prince and Lord, John, 
Duke of Saxony, Landgrave of Thiiriagia, Margrave of 
Meissen, my gracious Lord and Patfon. 

Illustrious, High-bom Prince, gracious Lord I My 
hiunble duty and my feeble praya for your Grace always 

For a long time, gracioiis Prince and Lord, I have wished 
to show my humble respect and duty toward your princely 
Grace, by the exhibition of some such spiritual wares as 
are at my disposal; but I have always con^dered my powers 
too feeble to undertake anything worthy of being offered 
to your princely Grace. 

Since, however, my most gracious Lord Frederick, 
Duke of Saxony, Elector and Vicar of the Holy Roman 
Empire, your Grace's brother, has not despised, but gra- 
ciously accepted my slight book,* dedicated to his electoral 
Grace, and now published — though such was not my in- 
tention — I have taken courage from his gracious example 
and ventured to think that the princely spirit, like the 
princely blood, may be the same in both of you, especially 

>rf«, printed ia tiw pnaent rdmat. 

» Col. J ; . 

7- Sec kbove p. »s. Note 


B>. I09-I7I- 

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The I>edlcation 185 

in gradous kindness and good will. I have hoped that your 
princely Grace likewise would not despise th^ my humble 
offering which I have felt more need of publishing than any 
other of my sermons or tracts. For the greatest of all 
questions has been raised, the question of Good Works, 
in which is practised immeasurably more trickery and de- 
ception than in anything else, and in which the simple- 
minded man is so easily misled that our Lord Christ has 
commanded us to watch carefully for the sheep's clothing Uatt. 
under which the wolves hide themselves. '' 

Neither silver, gold, precious stones, nor any rare thing 
has such manifold alloys and flaws as have good works, 
which ought to have a single simple goodness, and without 
it are mere color, show and deceit. 

And although I know and daily hear many people, who 
think slightingly of my poverty, and say that I write only 
little pamphlets' and German sermons for the unlearned 
laity, this shall not disturb me. Would to God I had in all 
my life, with all the abiUty I have, helped one layman to be 
betterl I would be satisfled, thank dod, and be quite will- 
ing then to let all my tittle books perish. 

Whether the making of many great books is an art and a 
benefit to the Church, I leave others to judge. But I 
beUeve that if I were minded to make great books accord- 
ing to their art, I could, with God's help, do it more readily 
perhaps than Uiey could prepare a little discourse after my 
fashion. If accomplishment were as easy as persecution, 
Christ would loDg since have been cast out of heaven 
again, and God's throne itself overturned. Although we 
cannot all be writers, we all want to be critics. 

I will most gladly leave to any one else the honor of 
greater things, and not be at all ashamed to preach and to 
write in German for the unlearned laymen. Although I too 
have little skill in it, I believe that if we bad hitherto done, 
and should henceforth do more of it, Christendom would 

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i86 Treatise oa Good Works 

have reaped no small advantage, and have been more bene- 
fited by this than by the great, deep books and quaes- 
t i o n e s >, which are used only in the schools, among the 

Then, too, I have never forced or begged any one to hear 
me, or to read my sermons. I have freely ministered in 
the Church of that which God has given me and which I 
owe the Church. Whoever likes it not, may hear and read 
what others have to say. And if they are not willing to be 
my debtors, it matters little. For me it is enough, and 
even more than too much, that some laymen condescend to 
read what I say. Even though there were nothing else 
to urge me, it diould be more than sufficient that I have 
learned that your princely Grace is pleased with such Ger- 
man books and is eager to receive instruction in Good 
Works and the Faith, with which instruction it was my 
duty, humbly and with all diligence to serve you. 

Therefore, in dutiful humiUty I pray that your princely 
Grace may accept this offering of mine vnth a gracious 
m ind, until, if God grant me time, I prepare a German 
exposition of the Faith in its entirety. For at this time 
I have wished to show bow in all good works we should 
practice and make use of fjuth, and let faith be the chief 
work. If God permit, I will treat at another time of the 
Faitb* itself — how we are daily to pray or redte it. 

I humbly commend myself herewith to your princely 

Your Princely Grace's 

Humble Chaplain, 

Dr. Martin Luther. 

From Wittenberg, March 39th, a. d. 1520. 

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I. We ought first to know that there are no good works rtttfc 
except those which God has commanded, even as there is J^?' 
no sia except that which God has forbidden. Therefore wattd< 
whoever wishes to know and to do good works needs noth- *•"*■ 
ing else than to know God's commandments. Thus Christ 
says, Matthew xix, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the u>tt. 
commandments." And when the young man asks Him, "*'" 
Matthew xix, what he shall do that he may inherit eternal ustt. 
life, Christ sets before him naught else but the Ten Com- '""*'• 
mandments. Accordingly, we must leamhow todistinguish 
among good works from the Commandments of God, and 
not from the appearance, the magnitude, or the munber of 
the works themselves, nor from the judgment of men or of 
himian law or custom, as we see has been done and still is 
done, because we are blind and despise the divine Com- 

Faith tka 
n. The first and hi^est, the most precious of all good watk 
works is faith in Christ, as He says, John vi. When the John 6: 
Jews asked Him: "What shall we do that we may work ■" ** 
the works of God?" He answered: "This is the work 
of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent." 
When we hear or preach this word, we hasten over it and 
deem it a very little thing and easy to do, whereas we ou^t 
here to pause a long time and to ponder it well. For in 
this work' all good works must be done and receive from it 
the inflow of their goodness, like a loan. This we must 
put bluntly, that moi may understand it. 
' We find many who pray, fast, establish endowments, 
do this or that, lead a good life before men, and yet if you 


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i88 Trettbe on Good WaOa 

diould ask them n^iether they are sure that what the>- do 
pleases God, they say, "No"; they do not know, or they 
doubt. And there are some very learned men, who mklpad 
' ^ them, and say that it is not necessary to be sure (A this; 
, ',, '' and yetjoa the other hand, these same men do nothing dse 
but teach good works. Now aD these works are dmie oat- 
'' ■: ^de of futh, therefore they are nothing and altogether 
dead. For as their conscience stands toward God and as 
it believes, so also are the works which grow out of iL Now 
they have no faith, no good conscience toward God, there- 
fore the works lack their head, and all thdr Hfe and good- 
ness is nothing. Hence it comes that when I exalt faith 
and reject such works dcme without faith, they accuse me 
of forbidding good works, when in truth I am tiying hard 
to teach real good works of faith. 

' AU ni. If you ask further, whether they count it also a good 

! doB» In "* ^°'^^ when they work at thdr trade, walk, stand, eat, 
faithar* drink, sleep, and do all kinds of works for the nourishment 
of the body or for the common welfare, and whether they 
believe that God takes pleasure in them because of such 
works, you will find that they say, "No"; and they define 
good works so narrowly that they are made to consist only 
of praying in church, fasting, and almsgiving. Other 
works they consider to be in vain, and think that God 
cares notUng for them. So through their damnable un- 
belief they curtail and lessen the service of God, Who is 
served by all things whatsoev^ that are done, s^km or 
thought in faith. 
Eteiw. So teaches Ecclesiastes ix: "Go thy way with joy, eat 
**'' ' and diink, and know that God accepteth thy works. Let 
thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no 
ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest 
all the daysof the lifeof thy vanity." "Let thy garments be 
always white," that is, let all our works be good, whatever 
they may be, without any distinction. And they are white 
wb^ I am certain and believe that they please God. 

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Worti and FUdi 189 

Then shall the head of my soul never lack the (antment of 
a joyful conscience. 

So Christ says, John viii : "I do always those things that John 8:»t 
please Him." And St. John says, I. Jc^ iii: "Hereby i John 3, 
we know that we are of the truth, if we can comfort our '' '^' 
hearts before Him and have a good confidence. And if 
our heart condemns or frets us, God is greater than our 
heart, and we have confidaice, that whatsoever we ask, 
we shall receive of Him, becaiise we keep His Command- 
ments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 
Again: "Whosoever is bom of God, that is, whoever be- t John 3, 
lieves and trusts God, doth not commit sin, and cannot ** 
an." Again, Psalm xmv: "None of them that trust in Pi. sa-." 
Him shall do sin." And in Psalm ii: "Blessed are all p>.i:ii 
they that put their trust in Him." If this be true, then 
all that they do mtist be good, or the evil that they do 
must be qiajckly forgiven. Behold, then, why I exalt faith 
so greatly, draw all works into it, and reject all works which 
do not flow from it. 

IV. Now every one can note and tell for himself raltbiiM 
when he does what is good or what is not good; for if h e otod** 
; find3_hi8 heart confidfiaLthatJ t pleases G od,_^e_workjs WmU 
good, even if it were so small a thing as picking up a straw. 
If confidence is absent, or if he doubts, the work is not good, 
although it should raise all the dead and the man should i Car- 
give himself to be bumed.jThis is the teaching of St. Paul, "^ 
Romans xiv: "Whatsoever is not done of or in faith is sin." Rom. 
Faith, as the chief work, and no other work, has given us '*'" 
the name of "believers on Christ." For all other works a 
heathen, a Jew, a Turk, a sinner, may also do; but to trust 
firmly that he pleases God, is possible only for a Chmtian 
who is enlightened and strengthened by grace. 

That these words seem strange, and that some call me a 
heretic because of them, is due to the fact that mea have 
followed blind reason and heathen ways, have set faith 
not above, but beside other virtues, and have given it a 

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190 Treatise on Good Works 

work of its own, apart from all works of the other virtues; 

although faith alone makes al] other works good, acceptable 

and worthy, in that it trusts God and does not doubt that 

for it all things that a man does are well dtme. Indeed, 

they have not let faith remain a work, but have made a 

John 6:19 habitus' of it, as they say, although Scripture gives 

the name of a good, divine work to no work except to fiuth 

M»tt. alone. Therefore it is no wonder that they have become 

'*■'* blind and leaders of the blind. And this faith brings with 

it at once love, peace, joy and hope. For God gives His 

Spirit at once to him who trusts Him, as St. Paul says to the 

g»i,3:j Galatians: "You received the Spirit not became of your 

good works, but when you believed the Word of God." 

r^Ui V. In this faith all works become equal, and one is like 
^ ** the other; all distinctions between works fall away, 
Work! whether they be great, small, short, long, few or many. 
^ For the works are acceptable not for their own sake, but 
because of the faith which alone is, works and lives in 
each and every work without distinction, however numer- 
ous and various they are, just as all the members of the body 
live, work and have their name from the head, and without 
the head no member can live, work and have a name. 

From which it further follows that a Christian who lives 

in this faith has no need of a teacher of good works, but 

whatever he finds to do he does, and all is well done; as 

t Stat. Samuel said to Saul: "The Spirit of the Lord will come 

'"' upon thee, and thou shalt be turned into another man; 

then do thou as occasion serves thee; for God is with thee." 

I Sun. So also we read of St. Anna, Samuel's mother: "When she 

'""'■ believed the priest Eli who promised her God's grace, she 

went home in joy and peace, and from that time no more 

turned hither and thither," that is, whatever occurred, it 

Rom. 8:1 was all one to her. St. Paul also says: "Where the 

' j.,j Spirit of Christ is, there all is free." For faith does not 

permit itself to be bound to any work, nor does it allow any 


Works and Faith 191 

work to be taken from it, but, as the First Psaha saj^s, 
"He biingeth forth his fruit in his seasou," that is, as a P*- >^ 
matter of course. 

VI. This we may see in a common human example. An 
When a man and a woman love and are pleased with each ***'*^ 
other, and thoroughly beheve in their love, who teaches 
them how th^f are to behave, what they are to do, leave 
imdone, say, not say, think? Confidence alone teaches 
them all this, and more. They make no difference in works: 
they do the great, the long, the much, as gladly as the small, 
the short, the httle, and vice versa; and that too with joy- 
ful, peaceful, confident hearts, and each is a free compan- 
ion of the other. But where there is a doubt, search is made 
for what is best; then a distinction of works is imagined 
whereby a man may win favor; and yet he goes about it 
with a heavy heart, and great disrelish; he is, as it were, 
taken captive, more than half in despair, and often makes a 
fool of himself. 

So a Christian who lives in this confidence toward God, Th* 
knows all things, can do all things, undertakes all things gj^, ,f 
that are to be done, and does everything cheerfully and Vaith: 
freely ; not that he may gather many merits and good works, "^ 
but because it is a pleasure for him to please God thereby, 
and he serves God purely for nothing, content that his ser- 
vice pleases God. On the other hand, he who is not at one 
with God, or doubts, hunts and worries in what way he may 
do enough and with many works move God. He runs to 
St. James of Compostella,* to Rome, to Jerusalem, hither 
and yon, prays St. Bridget's prayer* and the rest, fasts on 

'St. Jacob di Compottclla, > pUce in Spdn, where the Apostle 
Jtme*. the too el Zdiedce. whowai killed in Jenualem (Acts ii : i), [■ in .Specif 
tnditioo uid to have ditd a routyr'i deatbi rince the Ninth Century a noted and 
much fiequeated goal of ^rilgrimagea. The name Compostella ii a comiptioii of 
Glacomo Poatolo, that i>. "James the ApoMle." 

■ St. Bridfet of Ireland, who died in s'i. *u consdend a tteoai Vlrstn Mary, 
the "Htiy of the Iriih." Pethapi here coofiised wilhanotber Bridget, or Blreitta, 
irtto died iJTJi a Scottish uint. w)» wrote serenl prayers, printed for the firet time 

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193 Treatise on Good Works 

tills day and oa that, makes confession here, and makes 

confession there, questions this man and that, and yet 

finds no peace. He does all this with great effort, despair 

and disrelish of heart, so that the Scriptures ri^tly call 

Ps. 90:10 such works in Hebrew A v e n a m a I , that is, labor and 

travail. And even then they are not good works, and are 

all lost. Many have been crazed thereby; their fear has 

brought them into all manner of misery. Of these it is 

Wad. written, Wisdom of Solomon v: "We have wearied our- 

**'' selves in the wrong way; and have gone through deserts, 

where there lay no way; but as for the way of the Lord, we 

have not known it, and the sun of righteousness rose not 

upon us." 

P* , Vn. In these works faith is still ^ght and weak; let us 

stica of ask further, whether they believe that they are well-pleas- 

'^' ' ing to God when they suffer in body, property, honor, 

ing* friends, or whatever they have, and believe that God of 

His mercy appomts their sufferings and difficulties for them, 

whether they be small or great. This is real strength, to 

trust in God when to all our senses and reason He appears 

to be angry ; and to have greater confidence jjO-Himjhaii.wp 

feel.. Here He is hidden, as the bride says in the Song of 

. Sao« 19 Songs: "Behold he standeth behind our wall, he looketh 

forth at the windows"; that is. He stands hidden among the 

sufferings, which would separate us from Him like a wall, 

yea, like a wall of stone, and yet He looks upon me and 

does not leave me, for He is standing and is ready graciously 

to help, and through the window of dim faith He permits 

i*m. I Himsdf to be seen. And Jeremiah says in Lamentations, 

sattjtjjg casts off men, but He does it not willingly." 

This fjuth they do not know at all, and give up, thinking 
that God has forsaken them and is become their enemy; 
they even lay the blame of their ills on men and devils, and 
have no confidence at all in God. For this reason, too, thdr 
suffering is always an offence and harmful to them, and yet 
they go and do some good works, as they think, and are not 

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Works and Faitli 193 

aware of their unbelief. But they who in such suffering - 
trust God and retain a good, firm confidence in Him, and -. 
believe that He is pleased with them, these see in their ^ • 
sufferings and afflictions nothing but precious merits and 
the rarest possesaons, the value of which no one can 
estimate. For faith and confidence make predous before 
God all that which others think most shameful, so that it 
is written even of death in Psalm czvi, "Precious in the Ps.iii:i] 
^ght of the Lord is the death of His saints." And just as 
the confident and faith are better, higher and stronger at 
this stage than in the first stage, so and to the same degree 
do the sufferings which are borne in this faith excel all 
works of faith. Therefore between such works and suffer- 
ings there is an immeasurable difference and the sufferings ^ 
are infinitely better. 

God punishes the conscience not only with temporal suffer- IJJ^.** 
ings, but with death, hell, and sin, and refuses grace and Tor- ' 
mercy, as though it were His will to condemn and to be 2^""*' 
angry eternally. This few men experience, but David - adeoc* 
cries out in Psahn vi, "O Lord, rebuke me not in Thine ?■■ 6:1 
anger." To believe at such times that God, in His mercy, 
is pleased with us, is the highest work that can be done by 
and in the creature;* but of this the work-righteous and 
doers of good works know nothing at all. For how could 
they here look for good things and grace from God, as 
long as they are not certain in their works, and doubt even 
on the lowest step of faith. 

In this way I have, as I said, always praised faith, and 1^*^ 
rejected all works which are done without such faith, in saj«et«A 
order thereby to lead men from the false, pretentious, 
Pharisaic, unbelieving good works, with which all monastic 
houses, diurches, homes, low and higher classes are over- 
filled, and lead them to the true, genuine, thoroughly good, 

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Z94 Treatise on Good Works 

believing works. In this no one opposes me except the un- 
Lev. im clean beasts, vrtach do not divide the hoof, as the Law of 
Moses decrees; who will suffer no distinction among good 
works, but go lumbering along: if only they pray, fast, 
establish endowments, go to confes^on, and do enough, 
everything shall be good, although in all this they have had 
no faith in God's grace and approval. Indeed, they con- 
sider the works best of all, when they have done many, 
great and long works without any such confidence, and they 
look for good only after the works are done; and so they 
build their confidence not on divine favor, but on the 
works they have done, that is, on sand and water, from 
Uttt. which they must at last take a cruel fall, as Christ says, 
'■'*'" Matthew vii. This good-will and favor, on which our 
confidence rests, was prochumed by the angels from heaven, 
Luk« 1.14 when they sang on Christmas night: "Gloria in ex- 
cel s i s Deo, Glory to God in the highest, peace to 
earth, gracious favor to man."' 

Tlwrtnt DC. Now this is the work of the First Commandment, 
nand- which commands: "Thou shatt have no other gods," 
went which means: "Since I alone am God, thou shalt place all 
thy confidence, trust and faith on Me alone, and on no one 
w k ia *'^'" ^°^ *^^ ^ "*'^ *° have a god, if you call him God 
Ftdiii only with your lips, or worship him with the knees or bodily 
, -s. gestures; but if you trust Him with the heart, and lodt to 

Him for all good, grace and favor, whether in works or suffer- 
ings, in life or death, in joy or sorrow; as the Lord Christ 
John 4:14 says to the heathen woman, John iv: "I say unto thee, they 
that worship God must wor^p Him in spirit and in truth." 
And this faith, faithfulness, confidence deep in the heart, is 
the true fulfilling of the First Commandment; without 
this there is no other work that is able to satisfy this Com- 
mandment. And as this Commandment is the very first, 
highest and best, from which all the others proceed, in 

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The First Commandment 195 

vhicb they exist, and by which they are directed and 
measured, so also its work, that is, the faith or confidence 
in God's favor at all times, is the very first, highest and best, 
from which all others must proceed, exist, remain, be di- 
rected and measured. Compared with this, other works are 
just as if the other Commandments were without the First, 
and there were no God. Therefore St. Augustine well 
says that the works of the First Commandment are faith, 
hope and love. As I said above,* such faith and coofidoice 
bring love and hope with them. Nay, if we see it aright, 
love is the first, or comes at the same instant with faith. 
For I could not trust God, if I did not think that He wished 
to be favorable and to love me, which leads me, in turn, to 
love H im and to trust Him heartily and to look to Him for 
all good things. 

I X. Now you see for yourself that all those who do not at An 
at all times trust God and do not in all their works or suffer- ^|^^ 
ings, life and death, trust in His favor, grace and good-will, v*itiiv* 
but seek His favor in other things or in themselves, do not '**''*^ 
, keep this Commandment, and practise real idolatry, even 
if they were to do the works of all the other Command- 
' ments, and in addition had all the prayers, fasting, obe- 
dience, patience, chastity, and innocence of all the saints 
combined. For the chief work is not present, without 
which all the others are nothing but mere sham, show and 
pretence, with nothing back of them; against which Christ 
warns us, Matthew vii: "Beware of false prophets, which M«tt. 
come to you in sheep's clothing." Such are all who wish '■'* 
with their many good works, as they say, to make God 
favorable to themselves, and to buy God's grace from Him, 
as if He were a huckster or a day-laborer, unwilling to give 
i His grace and favor for nothing. These are the most per- 
"^erse people on earth, who will hardly or never be converted 
to the right way. Such too are all who in adver^ty run hither 

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196 Treatise on Good Wcffks 

and thither, and look for counsel and help everywhere ex- 
cept from God, from Whton they are most urgently com- 
manded to seek it; whom the Prophet Isaiah reproves thus, 
In. g:i3 Isaiah ix: "The mad people tumeth not to JGm that 
smiteth them"; that is, God smote them and sent them 
sufferings and all kinds of adversity, that they should run 
to Him and trust Him. But they run away from Him 
to men, now to Egypt, now to Assyria, perchance also to 
the devil; and of such idolatry much is written in the same 
Prophet and in the Books of the Kings. This is also the 
way of all holy hypocrites when they are in trouble: they 
do not nm to God, but flee from Him, and only think of 
how they may get rid of their trouble through their own 
efforts or through human help, and yet they consider them- 
selves and let others consider them pious people. 


^*L XI. This is what St. Paul means in many places, where 

Wotka he ascribes so much to faith, that he says: Justus ex 
Rom. i;i7 fide sua vivit, "the righteous man draws his life 
out of his faith," and faith is that because of which he is 
counted righteoiis before God. If righteousness consists 
of faith, it is clear that faith fulfils all conmiandments and 
makes all works righteous, ^ce no one is justified except 
he keep all the commands of God. .^;ain, the works can 
justify DO one before God without faith. So utterly and 
roundly does the Apostle reject works and praise faith, 

Rota.3:S that some have taken offence at his words and say: "Well, 
then, we will do no more good works," although he con- 
demns such men as erring and foolish. 

So men still do. When we reject the great, pretentious 
works of our time, which are done entirely widiout faith, 
they say: Men are only to believe and not to do anything 
good. For nowadays they say that the works of the First 
Commandment are singing, reading, organ-playing, read- 
ing the mass, saying maUns and vespers and the other 
hours, the fotmi^g and decorating of churches, altars, 
and monastic houses, the gathering of bells, jewels, gar- 


The First Conmundment 197 

ments, trinkets and treasures, running to Rome and to the 
saints. Further, when we are dressed up and bow, kneel, 
pray the rosary and the Psalter, and all this not before an 
idol, but before the holy cross of God or the pictures of 
His s^ts: this we call honoring and worshiping God, 
and, according to the First Commandment, "having no 
other gods"; although these things usurers, adulterers and 
all manner of sinners can do too, and do them daily. 

Of course, if these things are done with such faith that 
we believe that they please God, then they ate praise- 
worthy, not because of their virtue, but becaiise of such 
faith, for which all works are of equal value, as has been 
said.' But if we doubt or do not believe that God is gra- 
cious to us and is pleased with us, or if we presumptuously 
.expect to please Him only through and after our works, 
then it is all pure deception, outwardly honoring God, but 
inwardly setting up self as a false god. This is the reason 
why I have so often spoken against tlie display, magnifi- 
cence and multitude of such works and have rejected them, 
because it is as dear as day that they are not only done 
in doubt or without faith, but there is not one in a thousand 
who does not set his confidence upon the works, expecting 
by than to win God's favor and anticipate His grace; and 
so they make a fair* of them, a thing which God cannot 
endiure, since He has promised His grace freely, and wills 
that we begin by trusting that grace, and in it perform all 
works, whatever they may be. 

XII. Note for yourself, then, how far apart these two are: WwU 
keeping the First Commandment with outward works only, ^^ 
and keeping it with inward trust. For this last makes true, cod- 
living children of God, the other only makes worse idolatry '"'* 
and the most mischievous hypocrites on earth, ^o with 
their apparent ri^teousness lead unnumbered people into 

*A Jkhimaikt; thcTdCKcccluKbdng totbebargkJnlDXCOiniiuinat nKh 

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jgS TreatiM on Good Worin 

their way, and yet allow them to be without f^th, so that 

they are miserably misled, and are caught in the pitiable 

babbling and mummery. Of such Christ says, Matthew 

Mktt. zxiv: "Beware, if any man shall say imto you, Lo, here 

j^'^. is Christ, or there"; and John iv: "I say unto thee, the 

*i f. hour Cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain nor 

yet at Jerusalem worship God, for the Father seeketh 

spiritual worshipers." 

These and similar passages have moved me and ou^t to 
move everyone to reject the great display of bulls, seals, 
flags, indulgences, by which the poor folk are led to build 
churches, to ^ve, to endow, to pray, and yet faith is not 
mentioned, and is even suppressed. For since faith knows 
no distinction among works, such exaltation and urging 
of one work above another cannot exist beside faith. For 
faith desires to be the only service of God, and will grant 
this name and honor to no other work, except in so far as 
faith imparts it, as it does when the work is done in faith 
and by faith. This perversion is indicated in the Old 
In- 6y^; Testament, when the Jews left the Temple and sacrificed 
'*' at other places, in the green parks and on the mountains. 
This is what these men also do: they are zealous to do all 
works, but this chief work of faith they regard not at all. 

Th« XIII. Where now are they who ask, what works are 

duKeof S^i wha.t they shall do; how they shall be religious? 

Work* Yes, and where are they who say that when we preach of 

^i^A faith, we shall neither teach nor do works? Does not this 

In VaUh First Commandment give us more work to do than any 

man can do? If a man were a thousand men, or all men, 

or all creatures, this Commandment would yet ask enough 

of him, and more than enough, since he is commanded to 

live and walk at all times in faith and confidence toward 

God, to place such faith in no one else, and so to have only 

one, the true God, and none other. 

Now, since the being and nature of man cannot for an 
instant be without doing or not doing something, enduring 

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The First Comniandmeiit 199 

or numing away from something (for, as we see, life never 
rests), let him who will be pious and filled with good 
works, begin and in all his life and works at all times 
exercise himself in this faith; let him learn to do and to 
leave undone all things in such continual faith; then wiU 
he find how much work he has to do, and how completely 
all things are included in faith; how he dare never grow idle, 
because his very idling must be the exercise and work of 
faith. In brief, nothing can be in or about us and nothing 
. can happen to us but that it must be good and meritorious, 
if we believe (as we ought) that all things please God. 
So says St. Paul: "Dear brethren, all that ye do, whether 1 Cor. 
ye eat or drink, do all in the Name of Jesus Christ, our '"^' 
Lord." Now it cannot be done in this Name except it 
be done in this faith. Likewise, Romans viii: "We know RmlS:*! 
that all things work together for good to the saints of 

Therefore, when some say that good works are forbidden 
when we preach faith alone, it is as if I said to a sick man: 
"If you had health, you would have the use of all your 
limbs; but without hfalth, the works of all your limbs are 
nothing"; and he wanted to infer that I had forbidden the 
works of aU his limbs; whereas, on the contrary, I meant 
that he must first have health, which will work all the 
works of all the members. So faith also must be in all 
works the master-workman and captain, or they are 
nothing at all. 

XIV. You might say: "Why then do we have so many J|[^,„- 
laws of the Church and of the State, and many ceremonies oim 
of churches, monastic houses, holy places, which urge and 
tempt men to good works, if faith does all things through 
the First Commandment?" I answer; Simply because 
we do not all have faith or do not heed it. If .every man 
had faith, we would need no more laws, but every one 
would of himself at all times do good works, as his caa&- 
dence in God teaches him. 

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300 Treatise on Good Works 

^^ But now there are four kinds of men: the first, just men- 

ol Hw tioned, who need no law, of whom St. Paul says, I. Timothy 
i'TlDi.i'4 i, "The law is not made for a righteous man," that is, for 
the beUever, but believers of themselves do what they know 
and can do, only because they finnly trust that God's favor 
and grace rests upon them in all things. The second class 
want to abuse this freedom, put a false confidence in it, 

I Pet and grow lazy; of whom St. Peter says, I. Peter ii, "Ye 
'' shall live as free men, but not using your liberty for a cloak 
of malidousness," as if he said: The freedom of faith does 
not permit sins, nor will it cover them, but it sets us free 
to do all manner of good works and to endure all things as 
they happen to us, so that a man is not bound only to one 

c»L5:i3 work or to a few. So also St. Paul, Galatians v: "Use not 
your liberty for an occasion to the flesh." Such men must 
be urged by laws and hemmed in by teaching and exhorta- 
tion. The third class are wicked men, always ready for 
sins; these must be constrained by spiritual and temporal 
laws, like wild horses and dogs, and where this does not 
help, they must be put to death by the worldly sword, as 

Rom- St. Paul says, Romans riii: "The worldly ruler bears the 
'3*3 ■ sword, and serves God with it, not as a terror to the good, 
but to the evil." The fourth class, who are still lusty, 
and childish in their tmderstanding of faith and of the spir- 
itual life, must be coaxed like yoimg children and tempted 
with external, definite and prescribed decorations, with read- 
ing, praying, fasting, singing, adorning of churches, organ- 
playing, and such other things as are commanded and ob- 
served in monastic houses and churches, until they also 
learn to know the faith. Although there is great danger 
here, when the rulers, as is now, alas! the case, busy them- 
selves with and insist upon such ceremonies and external 
works as if they were Uie true works, and neglect faith, 
which they ought always to teach along with these works, 
just as a mother gives her child other food along with the 
milk, until the child can eat the strong food by itself. 

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The First Commandment 30i 

XV. Since, then, we are not all alike, we must tolerate ^^ 
such people, share their observances and burdens, and not uonac 
despise them, but teach them the true way of faith. So ?J»^ 
St. Paul teadies, Romans xiv: "Him that is weak in the Rom.i4:i 
faith receive ye, to teach him." And so he did himself, 
I. Corinthians iz: "To them that are under the law, I i Cor. 
became as under the law, although I was not under the ^'*^ 
law." And Christ, Matthew xvii, when He was asked to M»tt. 
pay tribute, which He was not obligated to pay, argues with "''* 
St. Peter, whether the children of kings must give tribute, 
or only other people. St. Peter answers; "Only other 
people." Christ said: "Then are the children of kings free; 
notwithstanding, lest we should oSend them, go thou to 
the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first 
Cometh up; and in his mouth thou shalt find apiece of 
money; take that and give it for me and thee." 

Here we. see that all works and things are free to a 
Christian through his faith ; and yet, because the others do 
not yet believe, he observes and bears with them what he is 
not obligated to do. But this he does freely, for he is cer- 
tain that this is pleasing to God, and he does it willingly, 
accepts it as any other free work which comes to his hand 
without his choice, because he desires and seeks no more 
than that he may in his faith do works to please God.' 

But since in this discourse we have undertaken to teach 
what righteous and good works are, and are now speaking 
of the highest work, it is clear that we do not speak of the 
second, third and fourth classes of men, but of the first, 
into whose likeness all the others are to grow, and until 
they do so the first class must endure and instruct them. 
Therefore we must not deq)ise, as if they were hopeless, 
these men of weak faith, who would gladly do right and 
learn, and yet cannot understand because of the ceremonies 
to which they ding; we must rather blame their ignorant, 
blind teacho^, who have never taught them the faith, 

> The thane derektped in the treatise D e Libertate, 1510. 


302 Treatise on Good WoAs 

and have led them so deeply into works. They miist be 
gently and gnidually led back again to faith, as a^ck 
man is treated, and must be allowed for a time, for their 
conscience sake, to cling to some works and do them as 
necessary to salvation, so long as they rightly grasp the 
faith; lest if we try to tear them out so suddenly, their 
weak consciences be quite shattered and confused, and 
retain neither faith nor works. But the hardheaded, who, 
hardened in their works, ^ve no heed to what is stud of 
iiUtt. faith, and fight against it, these we must, as Christ did and 
■'■'* taught, let go their way, that the blind may lead the blind. 

Th« XVI. But you say: How can I trust surely that all my 

^i^^ works are plea^ng to God, when at times I faU, and talk, 

•I Vkith eat, drink and sleep too much, or otherwise tran^jess, as 

jy^ I cannot help doing? Answer: This question shows that 

Sin* you Still tegud faith as a work among other works, and do 

not set it above all works. For it is the highest wc»k for 

this very reason, because it remains and blots out these 

daily sins by not doubting that God is so kind to you as to 

wink at such daily transgresdon and weakness. Aye, 

even if a deadly sin should occur (which, however, never 

or rarely happens to those who live in faith and trust 

toward God), yet faith rises again and does not doubt that 

ijohna:! its Sin is ahready gone; as it is written I. John ii: "My 

httle children, ^ese things I write unto you, that ye sin 

not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with God 

the Father, Jesus Christ, Who is the propitiation of all our 

Wis. 15:1 sins."_And Wisdom xv: "For if we sin, we are Thine, 

PiOT. knowing Thy power." And Proverbs xiiv: "For a just 

**' man falleth seven times, and liseth up again." Yes, this 

confidence and faith must be so high and strong that the 

man knows that all his life and works are nothing but 

damnable sins before God's judgment, as it is written, 

F*.i43:* Psalm cxliii: "In thyaghtshall no manliving be justified"; 

and he must entirely despair of his woiks, believing that 

they cannot be good except through this faith, which lodes 

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The First Coaunandment 303 

for DO judgment, but only for pure grace, favor, kindness 
and mercy, like David, Fsalm zxvi: "Thy loving kindness ^ *6-4 
is ever before mine eyes, and I have trusted in Thy truth"; 
Fsalm iv: "The light of Thy countenance is lift up upon Pft.47 
us (that is, the knowledge of Thy grace through faith) , and 
thereby hast Thou put gladness in my heart"; for as faith 
trusts, so it receives. 

See, thus are works fo^ven, are without guilt and are 
good, not by their own nature, but by the mercy and grace 
of God becauseof the faith which trustson themercyof God. 
Therefore we must fear because of the works, but comfort 
ourselves because of the grace of God, as it is written, 
Fsalm cztvii: "The Lord taketh pleasure in them that Fi.i4t:ii 
fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy." So we pray 
with perfect confidence: "Our Father," and yet petjtioa: 
"Forgive us our trespasses"; we are children and yet 
mnners; are acceptable and yet do not do enough; and all 
this is the work of faith, fitinly grounded in God's grace. 

XVn. But if you ask, where the faith and the confidence p* 
can be found and whence they ctmie, this it is certainly 2mJ5J» 
most necessary to know. First: Without doubt faith does 
not come from your works or merit, but alone from Jesus 
Christ, and is freely promised and given; as St. Paid writes, 
Romans v: "God commendeth His love to us as exceeding Roo. 
sweet and kindly, in that, while we were yet sinners, '*'" 
Christ died for us"; as if he sud: "Ought not this give us a 
strong unconquerable confidence, that before we prayed or 
cared for it, yes, while we still continually walked in sins, 
Christ dies for our sin?" St. Paul concludes; "If while we 
were yet sinners Christ died for us, how much more then, 
being justified by His blood, shall we be saved from wrath 
through Him ; and if, when we were enemies, we were recon- 
ciled to God by the death of His Son, much more,' being 
reconciled, shall we be saved by His life." 

Lo I thus must thou fonu Christ within thyself and see 
how in Him God holds before thee and oBets thee His 


204 Treatiss on Good Works 

mercy without any pievioiis merits of thine own, and from 
such a view of His grace must thou draw faith and confi- 
dence of the forgiveness of all thy sins. Fait h, therefor e. 
does_not_iiegin_ffjlh-wocba^neither do they create it, but it 
must^^ring up md flow from the blood, wounds and death 
of Christ, if thou see in these that God is so kindly affec- 
tioned toward thee that He gives even His Son for thee, 
then thy heart also must in its turn grow sweet and kindly 
aSectioned toward God, and so thy confidence must grow 
out of pure good-will and love — God's love toward thee and 
thine toward God. We never read that the Holy Spirit 
was given to any one when he did works, but always whai 
men have heard the Gospel of Christ and the mercy of God. 
From this same Word and from no other source must 
faith still come, even in our day and always. For Christ 
is the rock out of which men suck oil and honey, as Hoses 
^ says, Deutenmomy xzzii. 

XVin. So far we have treated of the first work and of the 
First CommandiAent, but very briefly, plainly and hastily, 
for very much might be said of it We will now trace the 
works farther through the following Commandments. 

The second woi-k, next to faiUi, is the work of the 
' Second Commandment, that we shall honor God's Name 
■ and not take it in vain. Hiis, like all the other works, 
cannot be done without faith; and if it is done without 
faith, it is all sham and show. .After f^t h we can <1<>.Q9 
^eater work than to praise^ preach, sing and in every way 
eralt and magnify God's glory, honor and Name. 

And although I have said above,' and it is true, that there 
is QO difference in works where faith is and does the work, 
yet this is true only when they are compared with faith 
and its works. Measured by one another there is a differ- 
ence, and one is higher than the other. Just as in the body 
the members do not differ when compared with health, and 


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The Second Commandmetit 30S 

health works in the one as much as in the other; yet the Rom-ii:* 
works of the members are different, and one is higher, ' ^^" " 
nobler, more useful than the other; so, here also, to praise 
God's glory and Name is better than the works of the other 
Commajuhnents which follow; and yet it must be done in 
the same faith as all the others. 

But I know well that this work is lightly esteemed, and 
has indeed become unknown. Therefore we must examine 
it further, and will say no more about the necessity of 
doing it in the faith and confidence that it pleases God. 
Indeed there is no work in which confidence and faith 
are so much experienced and felt as in honoring God's 
Name; and it greatly helps to strengthen and increase 
faith, although all works also help to do this, as St. Peter 
says, n. Peter i: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give »Pet. 
dihgence through good works to make your calling and '"** 
election sure." 

XDC. The First Commandment forbids us to have other ^^^^^ 
gods, and thereby commands that we have a God, the true woikB 
God, by a firm faith, trust, confidence, hope and love, 
which are the only works whereby a man can have, honor 
and keep a God; for by no other work can one find or lose 
God except by faith or unbelief, by trusting or doubting; 
of the other works none reaches quite to God. So also 
in the Second Commandment we are forbidden to use His 
Name in vain. Yet this is not to be enough, but we are 
thereby also commanded to honor, call upon, glorify, 
preach and praise His Name. And indeed it is impossible 
that God's Name should not be dishonored where it is not 
rightly honored. For although it be honored with the 
lips, bending of the knees, kissing and other postures, if 
this is not done in the heart by faith, in confident trust in 
God's grace, it is nothing else than an evidence and badge 
of hypocrisy. 

See now, how many kinds of good works a man can do 
under this Commandment at all times and never be with- 

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2o6 TreatlBe on Good Works 

out the good works of this Commandment, if he will; so 
that he truly need not make a long pilgrimage or seek holy 
places. For, tell me, what moment can pass in which we 
do not without ceasing receive God's blessings, or, on the 
other hand, suffer adversity? But what else are God's 
blessings and adversities than a constant urging and 
stirring up to praise, honor, and bless God, and to call upon 
His Name? Now if you had nothing else at all to do, would 
you not have enough to do with this Commandment alone, 
that you without ceasing bless, sing, praise and honor God's 
Name? And for what other purpose have tongue, voice, 
language and mouth been created? As Psalm li. says: 
Ps.ji:is "Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show 
P».ji:i4 forth Thy praise." Again: "My tongue shall sing aloud 
of Thy mercy." 

What work is there in heaven except that of this 

Second Commandment? As it is written in Psalm Izxxiv : 

Pi. 84:4 "Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house: they will be 

for ever praising Thee." So also David says in Psalm 

p*-m:( xxziv: "God's praise shall be continually in my mouth." 

1 Cot. And St. Paul, I. Corinthians x: "Whether therefore' ye 

'*^' eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of 

CoL3;i7 God." Also Colossians iii: "Whatsoever ye do in word 

or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks 

to God and the Father." If we were to observe this work, 

we would have a heaven here on earth and always have 

enough to do, as have the saints in heaven. 

^* XX. On this is based the wonderful and righteous 

oi God judgment of God, that at times a poor man, in whom no 
one can see many great works, in the privacy of his home 
joyfully praises God when he fares well, or with entire 
confidence calls upon Him when he fares ill, and thereby 
does a greater and more acceptable work than another, 
who fasts much, prays much, endows churches, makes 
pilgrimages, and burdens himself with great deeds in this 
place and in that. Such a fool opens wide his mouth, 

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The Secood Commandment 307 

looks for great works to do, and is so blinded that he 
does not at all notice this greatest work, and praising 
God is in his eyes a very small matter compared with 
the great idea he has formed of the works of his own 
devising, in which he perhaps praises himself more than 
God, or takes more pleasure in them than he does in 
God; and thus with his good works he storms against 
the Second Commajidment and its works Of all this 
we have an illustration in the case of the Pharisee and the Luke 
Publican in the Gospel. For the sinner calls upon God '*'" '■ 
in his sins, and praises Him, and so has hit upon the two 
highest Commandments, faith and God's honor. The 
hypocrite misses both and struts about with other good 
works by which he praises himself and not God, and puts 
his trust in himself more than in God. Therefore he is 
justly rejected and the other chosen. 

The reason of all this is that Uie hi^er and better the 
works arCj^ die less show Ahey make; and that every one 
thinks they are easy, because it is evident that no one pre- 
tends to praise God's Name and honor so much as the very 
men who never do it and with their show of doing it, while 
the heart is without faith, cause the precious work to be 
despised. So that the Apostle St. Paiil dare say boldly, 
Romans ii, that they bta^hone God's Name who make Rm 1:13 
their boast of God's Law. For to name the Name of God 
and to write His honor on paper and on the walls is an easy 
matter; but genuinely to praise and bless Him in His good 
deeds and confidently to call upon Him in all adversities, 
these are truly the most rare, highest works, next to faith, 
so that if we were to see how few of them there are in 
Christendom, we might despair for very sorrow. And yet 
there is a constant increase of high, pretty, shining works 
of men's devising, or of works which look like these true 
works, but at bottom are all without faith and without 
faithfulness; in short, there is nothing good back of them. 
Thus also Isaiah xlviii. rebukes the people of Israel: "Hear !*■ 48:1 
ye this, ye which are called by the name of Israel, which 

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aoS Treatise on Good Works 

swear by the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the 
God of Israel neither in truth, nor in righteousness"; that 
is, they did it not in the true faith and confidence, which 
is the real truth and righteousness, but trusted in them- 
selves, their works and powers, and yet called upon God's 
Name and praised Him, two things which do not fit to- 

XXI. The first work of this Commandment then is, to 
praise God in all His benefits, which are innumerable, so 
that such praise and thanksgiving ought also of right 
never to cease or end. For who can praise Him perfectly 
for the gift of natural life, not to mention all other temporal 
and eternal blessings? And so through this one part of 
the Commandment man is overwhelmed with good and 
precious works; if he do these in true faith, he has indeed 
not lived in vain. And in this matter none sin so much as 
the most resplendent saints, who are pleased with them- 
selves and like to praise themselves or to hear themselves 
praised, honored and glorified before men. 
Avotding Therefore the second work of this Conunandment is, 
p^, to be on one's guard, to flee from and to avoid all temporal 
ot 8«u, honor and praise, and never to seek a name for oneself, or 
fame and a great reputation, that every one sing of him 
and tell of htm; which is an exceedingly dangerous sin, 
and yet the most conmnon of all, and, alas! little regarded. 
Every one wants to be of importance and not to be the least, 
however small he may be; so deeply is nature sunk in the 
evil of its own conceit and in its self-confidence contrary to 
these two first Commandments. 

Now the world regards this terrible vice as the highest 
virtue, and this makes it exceedingly dangerous for those 
who do not understand and have not had experience of 
God's Commandments and the histories of the Holy Scrip- 
tures, to read or hear the heathen books and histories. For 
all heathen books are poisoned through and through with 
this striving after praise and honor; in them men are taught 


The Second Conunandment sog 

by blind reason that they were not nor could be men of 
power and worth, who are not moved by praise and honor; 
but those are counted the best, who disregard body and 
life, friend and property and everything in the effort to 
win praise and honor. All the holy Fathers have com- 
plained of this vice and with one mind conclude that it is 
the very last vice to be overcome, St, Augustine says: 
"All other vices are practised in evil works; only honor and 
self-satisfaction are practised in and by means of good 

Therefore if a man had nothing else to do except this 
second work of this Commandment, he would yet have to 
work all his life-time in order to fight this vice and drive 
it out, so common, so subtile, so quick and insidious is it. 
Now we all pass by this good work and exercise ourselves 
in many other lesser good works, nay, through other good 
voi^ we overthrow this and forget it entirely. So the 
holy Name of God, which alone should be honored, is 
taken in vain and di^onored through our own cursed name, 
self-approval and honor-seeking. And this sin is more 
grievous before God than murder and adultery; but its 
wickedness is not so clearly seen as that of murder, because 
of its subtilty, for it is not accomplished in the coarse flesh, 
but in the spirit. 

XXn. Some think it is good for young people that they I?^^ 
be enticed by reputation and honor, and again by shame oiHonw 
and dishonor, and so be induced to do good. For there " * 
are many who do the good and leave the evil undone out of lot oood 
fear of shame and love of honor, and so do what they would 
otherwise by no means do or leave undone. These I 
leave to their oinnion. But at present we are seeking how 
true good works are to be done, and they who aie inclined 
to do them surely do not need to be driven by the fear of 
shame and the love of honor; they have, and are to have 
a higher and far nobler incentive, namely, God's command- 
ment, God's fear, God's approval, and their faith and love 


310 Treatise on Good Wortu 

toward God. They who have not, or regard not this 
motive, and let shame and honor drive them, these also have 

llatt.6:i their reward, as the Lord says, Matthew vi; and as the 
motive, so is also the work and the reward : none of them 
is good, except only in the eyes of the world. 

Now I hold that a young person could be more easily 
trained and incited by God's fear and commandments 
than by any other means. Yet where these do not help, 
we must endure that they do the good and leave the eVU 
for the sake of shame and of honor, just as we must also 
radure wicked men or the imperfect, of whom we spoke 
above; nor can we do more than tell them that their works 
are not satisfactory and right before God, and so leave 
them until they leam to do right for the sake of God's 
commandments also. Just as young children are induced 
to pray, fast, leam, etc., by gifts and promises of the 
parents, even though it would not be good to treat them so 
all their lives, so that they never leam to do good in the 
fear of God : far worse, if they become accustomed to do 

Th* good for the sake of praise and honor. 


Dugar XXin. But this is tme, that we must none the less 

^*. have a good name and honor, and every one ought so to 

Ham* live that nothing evil can be said of him, and that he give 

Rom. offence to no one, as St. Paul says, Romans m: "We are 

"■" to be zealous to do good, not only before God, but also 

aCot.4:j before all men." And II. Corinthians iv: "We walk so 

honestly that no man knows anything against us." But 

there must be great diligence and care, lest such honor and 

good name pufi up the heart, and the heart find pleasure 

Prov in them. Here the saying of Solomon holds: "As the fire 

''*" in the furnace proveth the gold, so man is proved by the 

mouth of him that praises him." Few and most spiritual 

men must they be, who, when honored and praised, remain 

indifferent and unchanged, so that they do not care for it, 

nor feel pride and pleasure in it, but remain entirely free, 

ascribe all their honor and fame to God, offering it to Him 


The Secoad Commandment 311 

alone, and using it only to the glory of God, to the edifica- 
tioD of their neighbors, and in no way to their own benefit 
or advantage ; so that a man trust not in bis own honor, nor 
exalt himself above the most inca^ble, demised man on 
earth, but acknowledge himself a servant of God, Who 
has given him the honor m order that with it he may serve 
God and his neighbor, just as if He had commanded him to 
distribute some g u I d e n * to the poor for His sake. So 
He says, Matthew v: "Your light shall shine before men, m«k. 
so that they may see your good works and glorify your *''' 
Father Who is in heaven." He does not say, "they shall 
praise you," but "your works shall only serve them to edi- 
fication, that through them they may praise God in you 
and in themselves." This is the correct use of God's 
Name and honor, when God is thereby praised through the 
edification of others. And if men want to praise us and 
not God in us, we are not to endure it, but with all our 
powers forbid it and fiee from it as from the most grievous 
sin and robbery of divine honor. 

r XXIV. Hence it comes that God frequently pennits a Th« 
. man to fall into or remain in grievous sin, in order that he abianttt 
may be put to shame in his own eyes and in the eyes of all «i Dii- 
men, who otherwise could not have kept himself from this ^"^'^ 

' A sdtd coin, the value of whicb i» very nncerUln. It tta ui adiplation o[ 
Iheflorin. whidl ma first ooiued in Florence in the year 1153, &nd wu 
worth tboat $1.50. Of the value of tlie gold s u 1 d e n of Luther's time various 
a are ^ven, SduS. Church History, *vi, p. 470, calls it > 
r and says that Et was equal in value to about S4.00 of the preseut day. 
I Smith, Life of Luther, p, 367, fixes its intrinsic value at about 
fifty cents, but believes its purchasitig poiier *■« almost twenty times as great. 
To us a sold piece worth &[ty cents seems almost impossible; but the New 
Eniliah Dictionary quotes, under the year i6ti; "Fkttia or Franc: 
ao audcat coin of gold in France, worth ij s. sterHog." As the gold coins erf 
those times were not made of pure gold, rarely reaching 17 carats fine, the 
possibilily may be granted. But hi 1617, the Dictionary quote*, "The 
Gold Rhenish Guldens of Germany an almost of the same standard as the 
Crowne Gold of England," and the Crown wu worth at that time (is. syid., — 
tomewhat loorc than Si. 50. 

The later silver gulden, wnth about forty cents was cunent in Europe 
nntO modem times, and a golden, worth 48^ cents, was, until recently, • 
•tandacd coin in Austto-Hungaiy. 

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ai2 Treatise on Good Works 

great vice of vain honor and fame, if he had remained con- 
stant in his great gjfts and virtues; so God must ward off 
this sin by means of other grievous sins, that His Name 
alone may be honored; Mid thus on e sin becomes the other 's 
medi dne, because of our jerv erse wickedness, which not 
_qnJY. doe s the evil, but also misuse s all that is good. 

Now see how much a man has to do, if he would do good 
works, which always are at hand in great number, and with 
which he is surrounded on all sides; but, alas! because of 
his blindness, he passes them by and seeks and runs after 
others of his own devi^g and pleasure, against which no 
man can sufficiently speak and no man can sufficiently 
guard. With this all the prophets had to contend, and 
for this reason they were aU slain, only because they re- 
jected such self-devised works and preached only God's 
commandments, as one of them says, Jeremiah vii: 
jcr. 7'» "Thus saith the God of Israel unto you: Take your bumt- 
offeiings unto all yQ|i| sacrifices and eat your burnt-offer- 
ings and you^Mi^Krselves; for concerning these things 
I have commam^^^ nothing, but this thing commanded 
I you: Obey My voice (that is, not what seems right and 
good to you, but what I bid you), and walk in the way that 
Dwt h: I have commanded you." And Deuteronomy xii: "Thou 
"■ '* shalt not do whatsoever is ri^t in thine own eyes, but 
what thy God has commanded thee." 

These and numberless like pass^es of Scripture are 
spoken to tear man not only from sins, but also from the 
works which seem to men to be good and right, and to 
turn men, with a single mind, to the simple meaning of 
God's commandment only, that they shall diligently ob- 
serve this only and always, as it is written. Exodus xiii: 
Ei. 139 "These commandments shall be for a sign unto thee upon 
thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes." 
p*. t:* And Psalm i: "A godly man meditates in God's Law day 
and night." For we have more than enough and too much 
to do, if we are to satisfy only God's commandments. 
He has given us such commandments that if ve under- 


The Second Conmundment 213 

stand them aright, we dare not for a moment be idle, and 
might easily forget all other works. But the evil ^nrit, 
who never rests, when he cannot lead us to the left into 
evil works, fights on our right through self-devised works 
that seem good, but against which God has conunanded, 
Deuteronomy xiviii, and Joshua xxiii, "Ye shall not go De«it 
aside from My commandments to the right hand or to the j^^*,^ 

XXV. The third work of this Ctunmandment is to call Caninf 
upon God's Name in every need. For this God regards (j^^*' 

, as keying His Name holy and greatly honoring it, if we 
name and call upon it in adversity and need. And this 

, is really why He sends us so much trouble, suffering, ad- 

' versity and even death, and lets us live in many wicked, 
sinful affections, that He may thereby urge man and give 
him much reason to run to Him, to cry aloud to Him, to 
call upon His holy Name, and thus to fulfil this work of the 
Second Commandment, as He say^MS^ml: "Call upon P*.so:ij 
Me in the day of trouble; I will deOHp^Pand thou shalt 
glorify Me; for I desire the sacrifice ^ praise." And this 
is the way whereby thou canst come unto salvation; for 
through such works man perceives and learns what God's 
Name is, how powerful it is to he^ all who call upon it; 

. and Thereby confidence and faith grow mighti ly, and these 
are the fulfilling of the first and highest Commandment. 
This is the experience of David, Psalm liv: "TTiou hast p*-s*-i 
delivered me out of all trouble, therefore will I praise 
Thy Name and confess that it is lovely and sweet." And 
Psalm xd says, "Because he hath set his h<^ upon Me, p*. 91:14 
therefore will I deliver him: I will help him, because he 
hath known My Name." 

Lol what man is there on earth, idio would not all his 
life long have enough to do with this work? For who*Iives 
an hour without trials? I will not mention the trials of 
adversity, which are innumerable. For this is the most in Pro«- 
dangerous trial of all, when there is no trial and every- "^^ 

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ai4 Treatise on Good Works 

thing is and goes well; foi then a man is tempted to forget 
God, to become too bold and to misuse the times of pros- 
perity. Yea, here he has ten times more need to call 
upon God's Name than when in adversity. Since it is 

Ps.017 written, Fsahn zd, "A thousand shall fail on the left 
hand and ten thousand on the ri^t hand." 

So too we see in broad day, in all men's daily e]q>erience, 
that more hdnous dns and vice occur when there is peace, 
when all things are cheap and there are good times, than 
when war, pestilence, ^cknesses and all manner of misfor- 
tune burden us; so that Moses also fears for his people, 
lest they forsake God's commandment for no other reason 
than boiause they are too full, too well provided for and 
have too much peace, as he says, Deuteronomy xzxii: 

Dmt "My people is waxed rich, full and fat; therefore has it 

'*'" forsaken its God." Wherefore also God let many of its 

enemies remain and would not drive them out, in order that 

they should not have peace and must exercise themselves 

in the keeping of God's qjmmandments, as it is written, 

judgM Judges iii. So He deals with us also, when Heands us all 

*"' "' kinds of misfoH;unej_so exceedingly careful is Heof us, that 

He may teach us and drive us to honor and call upon His 

Name, to gain confidence and faith toward Him, and so 

to fulfil the first two Commandments. 

Tii» XXVI. Here foolish men run into danger, and especially 

c^j^ the work-righteous saints, and those who want to be more 
onothw than others; they teach men to make the ^gn of the cross; 
*"*• one arms himself with letters, another runs to the fortune- 
tellers; one seeks this, another that, if only they may 
thereby escape misfortune and be secure. It is beyond 
telling what a devilish allxarement attaches to this trifling 
with sorcery, conjuring and superstirion, all of which is 
done only that men may not need God's Name and put no 
trust in it. Here great dishonor is done the Name of God 
and the first two Commandments, in that men lo<^ to the 
devil, men or creatures for that which should be sou^t 


The Second Commandment 215 

and found in God alone, through naught but a pure faith 
and confid«ice, and a cheerful meditation of uid calling 
upon His holy Name. 

Now "examine this closely for yourself and see whether 
this is not a gross, mad perversion: the devil, men and 
creatures they must believe, and trust to them for the 
best; without such faith and confidence nothing holds or . 

helps. How shall the good and faithful God reward us for ■ 
not believing and trusting Him as much or more than man 
and the devil, although He not only promises help and 
sure assistance, but also commands us confidently to look 
for it, and gives and urges all manner of teastms why we 
should place such faith and confidence in Him? Is it not 
lamentable and pitiable that the devil or man, who com- 
mands nothing and does not urge, but only promises, is set 
above God, Who promises, lurges and commands; and that 
more is thought of them than of God Himself? We ought 
truly to be ashamed of oiirselves and learn from the ex- 
ample of those who trust the devil or men. For if the 
devil, who is a wicked, lying spirit, keeps faith with all 
those who ally themselves with him, how much more will 
not the most gracious, all-truthful God keep futh, if a man 
trusts Him? Nay, is it not rather He alone Who will keep 
faith? A rich man trusts and relies upon his money and 
possesions, and they help him; and we are not willing to 
trust and rely upon the living God, that He is willing and 
able to help us? We say: Gold makes bold; and it is true, 
as Baruch iii. says, "Gold is a thing wherein men trust." Bm. 3:17 
But far greater is the courage which the h^est eternal 
Good gives, wherein trust, not men, but only God's 

XXVn. Even if none of these adversities constrain us to ll»tt»e« 

call upon God's Name and to trust Him, yet were an alone ^ ^^ 

more than sufficient to train and to ui^e us on in this work. c«d'« 

For sin has hemmed us m with three strong, mighty armies. "*"" 
The first is our own flesh, the second the world, the third 

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2i6 Treatise mt Good Works 

the evil spirit, by which three we are without ceasing <^ 
pressed and troubled; whereby God gives us occasion to do 
good works without ceasing, namely, to fi^t with these 
enemies and sins. The flesh seeks pleasure and peace, the 
world seeks riches, favor, power and honor, the evil spirit 
seeks pride, glory, that a man be well thought of, and other 
men be despised. 

And these three are all so poweriul that each one of them 
is alone sufficient to fight a man, and yet there is no way we 
can overcome them, except only by calling upon the holy 
Name of God in a firm faith, as Solomon says, Proverte 

Ptw. xviii: "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the right- 

'"'*^ eous runneth into it, and is set aloft." And David, Psabn 

Pt. iifirij czvt: "I will drink the cup of salvation, and call upon the 

Ti.ts-^ Name of the Lord." Again, Psalm zviii : "I will call upon 
the Lord with praise: so shall I be saved from all mine 
enemies." These works and the power of God's Name have 
become unknown to us, because we are not accustomed to it, 
and have never seriously fought with sins, and have not 
needed His Name, because we are trained oidy in our self- 
devised works, which we were able to do with our own 

Oflwi XX Vm. Further works of this Commandment are: that 
of uie "* ^^^ °°* swear, curse, lie, derive and conjure with the 
Sacond holy Name of God, and otherwise misuse it; which are very 
^j, sunple matters and well known to every one, being the sns 
m«it which have been almost exclusively preached and proclaimed 
under this Commandment. These also include, that we 
shall prevent others from making sinful use of God's Name 
Th« by lying, swearing, deceiving, cursing, conjuring, and other- 
^^^•rt wise. Herein again much occasion is given for doing good 
o( th« and warding off evil. 

^f* But the greatest and most difficult work of this Com- 
nuuid< mandment is to protect the holy Name of God against all 

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The Second Conmuuidmeat 317 

self, praise and call upon God's Name in prosperity and ad- 
vemty. I must step forth and for the sake of God's 
honor and Name bring upon myself the enmity of all men, 
as Christ said to His disciples: "Ye ^lall be hated of all Matt. 
men for My Name's saJte." Here we must provoke to "*'" 
anger father, mother, and the best of friends. Here we 
most strive against spiritual and temporal powers, and be 
accused of disobedience. Here we must stir up against us 
the rich, learned, holy, and all that is of repute in the 
world. And although this is especially the duty of those 
who are conunanded to preach God's Word, yet every 
Christian is also obligated to do so when time and place 
demand. For we must for the holy Name of God risk and 
give up all that we have and can do, and show by our deeds 
that we love God and His Name, His honor and His praise 
above all things, and trust Him above all things, and ex- 
pect good from Him; thereby confessing that we regard 
Him as the highest good, for the sake of which we let go 
and give up all other goods. 

XXIX. Here we must first of all resist all wrong, where Aftiiwt 
truth or righteousness suffers violence or need, and dare ^'"^ 
make no distinction of persons, as some do, who fight most 
actively and busily against the wrong which is done to the 
rich, the powerful, and their own friends; but when it is 
done to the poor, or the demised or their own enemy, they 
are quiet and patient. Tliese see the Name and the honor 
of God not as it is, but through a painted glass, and measure 
truth or righteousness according to the persons, and do not 
consider their deceiving eye, which looks more on the 
person than on the thing. These are hypocrites within 
and have only the appearance of defending the truth. 
For th^ well know that there is no danger when one helps 
the rich, the powerful, the learned and one's own friends, 
and can in turn enjoy their protection and be honored by 

Thus it is very ea^ to fi^t against the wrong which is 

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3i8 Treatise on Good Wuks 

done to popeSj'kings, princes, bishops and other big-wigs.* 
Here eadi wants to be the most pious, where there is no 
great need. O how sly is here the deceitful Adam with his 
demand; how finely does he cover his greed of profit with 
the name of truth and righteousness and God's honor! 
But wh^ something happens to a poor and insignificant 
man, there the deceitful eye does not find much profit, but 
cannot help seeing the disfavor of the powerful; therefore 
he lets the poor man remain imhelped. And who could 
tell the extent of this vice in Christendom? God says in 

P*. the hixii. Psalm, "How long will ye judge unjustly, and 

*'"' "■ accept the persons of the wicked? Judge the matter of the 
poor and fatherless, demand justice for the poor and needy; 
deliver the poor and rid tiie forsaken out of the hand of the 
wicked." But it is not done, and therefore the text con- 
Pa. Si^s ttnues: "They know not, neither will they understand; 
they walk on in darkness"; that is, the truth they do not 
see, but they stop at the reputation of the great, however 

Prov.i97 unrighteous they are; and do not consider the po<^, how- 
ever righteous tJiey are. 

^" Sta XXX. See, here would be many good works. For the 
SUenee greater portion of the powerful, ridi and friends do in- 
justice and oppress the poor, the lowly, and their own 
opponents; and the greater the men, the worse the deeds; 
and where we cannot by force prevent it and help the 
truth, we should at least confess it, and do what we can 
with words, not take the part of the unrighteous, not 
approve than, but speak the truth boldly. 

What would it help a man if he did all manner of good, 
made pilgrimages to Rome and to all holy places, ac- 
quired all indulgences, built all churches and endowed 
houses, if he were found guilty of sin against the Name 
and honor of God, not speaking of them and ne^ectiog 
them, and regarding his possessions, honor, favor and 

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The Second Commandmeiit 219 

friends more than the truth (which is God's Name and 
honor) P Or who is he, before whose door and into whose 
house such good works do not daily come, so that he 
would have no need to travel far or to ask after good 
works? And if we consider the life of men, how in every 
place men act so very rashly and lightly in this respect, 
we must cry out with the prophet, Omnis homo Pt. 116:11 
mend ax, "All men are liare, lie and deceive"; for the 
real good works they n^ect, and adorn and paint them- 
selves with the most insignificant, and want to be pious, 
to moimt to heaven in peaceful security. 

But if you should say: "Why does not God do it alone 
and Himself, since He can and knows how to help each 
one?" Yes, He can do it; but He does not want to do it 
alone ; He wants us to work with Him, and does us the honor 
to want to work His work with us and through us. And 
if we are not wilting to accept such honor, He will, after all, 
perform the work alone, and help the poor; and those who 
were unwilling to help Him and have despised the great 
honor of doing Hb work, He will condemn with the im- 
righteous, because they have made common cause with the 
imrighteous. Just as He alone is blessed, but He wants to 
do us the honor and not be alone in His blessedness, but 
have us to be blessed with Him. And if He were to do it 
alone, His Commandments would be given us in vain, 
because no one would have occasion to exercise himself 
in the great works of these Commandments, and no one 
would test himself to see whether he regards God and His 
Name as the hi^est good, and for His sake risks every- 

XXKI. It also belongs to this work to re^t all false, *i»iMt 
seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines, every misuse of w^wd- 
spiritual power. Now this is much higher, for these use the n«M 
holy Name of God itself to fight against the Name of God. 
For this reason it seems a great thing and a dangerous to 
resist them, because they assert that he who resists them 

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uo Treatise od Good Works 

resists God and all His saints, in whose place they sit and 
whose power they use, saying that Christ said of them, 
Lake 10.6 "He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he that despiseth 
you, despiseth Me." On which words they lean heavily, 
become insolent and bold to say, to do, and to leave 
undone what they please; put to the ban, accurse, rob, 
murder, and practise all theii wickedness, in what- 
ever way they please and can invent, without any hind- 

Now Christ did not mean that we should listen to them 
in everything they mi{^t say and do, but only then when 
they present to us His Wonl, the Gospel, not their word, 
His work, and not their work. How else could we know 
whether their lies and sins were to be avoided? There 
must be some rule, to what extent we are to hear and to 
follow them, and this rule cannot be given by them, but 
must be established by God over them, that it may serve 
us as a guide, as we shall hear in the Fourth Command- 

It must be, indeed, that even in the spiritual estate the 
greater part preach false doctrine and misuse ^iritual 
power, so that thus occasion may be given us to do the works 
of this Commandment, and that we be tried, to see what 
we are willing to do and to leave undone against such 
blasphemers for the sake of God's honor. 

Oh, if we were God-fearing in this matter, bow often 
would the knaves of o f f i c i a I e s' have to decree their 
papal and episcopal ban in vaint How weak the Roman 
thunderbolts would become! How often would many a 
one have to hold his tongue, to whom the world must 
now give earl How few preachers would be found in 
Christendom! But it has gotten the upper hand: what- 
ever they assert and in whatever way, that must be right. 
Here no one fights for God's Name and honor, and I hold 
that no greater or more frequent mi is done in externa) 

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The Third Coomuuidment 331 

works than under this bead. It is a matter so high that few 
understand it, and, besides, adorned with God's Name and 
power, dangerous to touch. But the prophets of old were 
masters in this; also the apostles, especially St. Paul, who 
did not allow it to trouble them whether the highest or the 
lowest priest had said it, or had done it in God's Name or 
in his own. They looked on the worics and words, and held 
them up to God's Commandment, no matter whether big 
John or little Nick said it, or whether they had done it 
in God's Name or in man's. And for this they had to die, 
and of such dying there would be much mwe to say in our 
time, for things are much worse now. But Christ and 
St. Peter and Paul must cover all this with their holy names, 
so that no more infamous cover for infamy has been found 
on earth than the most holy and most blessed Name of 
Jesus Christ I 

One mi^t shudder to be alive, simply because of the 
misuse and blasphemy of the holy Name of God ; throu^ 
which, if it shall last much longer, we will, as I fear, 
openly worship the devil as a god ; so ctHnpletely do the 
^iritual authorities and the learned lack all understanding 
in these things. It is high time that we pray God earnestly 
that He hallow His Name. But it will cost blood, and they 
who enjoy the inheritance of the holy martyrs and are won 
with their blood, must again make martyrs. Of this more ^ 
another time.' "v 

I.* _ Wp havfi nnw asCT how many good worits there are m The 
the Second Com mandment, wh ich however we not good in q,^. 
ij [[i»Tnepivpq ^ iinlf^ ^ ^^ fy 8T*^ A ^V ^ Ux f^til^d in the.assur- mtnd- 
ance of divine favgr; and how much we must do, if we take 
heed to this Commandment alone, and how we, alas! busy 
ourselves much with other works, which have no agree- 
ment at all with it. Now follows the Third Command- 

•See apediU; Um Addre** to tbe Cbrl*t{«n Nobllllr mod 
the BtbrlociUa C&ptlvitr. 

' On the DambcriDi of the lectlMi* lee tbe IntroductlaD, p. ITS. 

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233 Treatise im Good Works 

ment: "Thou shalt hallow the day of rest."* la the 
First Conunandment is ptescribed our heart's attitude 
toward God in thoughts, is the Second, that of our mouth 
in words, in this Third is prescribed our attitude toward 
God in works; and it is the first and right table of Moses, 
on which these three Commandments are written, and 
they govern man on the right side, namely, in the things 
which concern God, and in which God has to do with man 
and man with God, without the mediation of any creature. 
Wwihjp The first works of this Commandment are plain and out- 
ward, which we commonly call worship,* such as going to 
mass, praying, and hearing a sermon on holy days. So 
understood there are very few works in this Command- 
ment; and these, if they are not done in assurance of and 
with faith in God's favor, are nothing, as was said above. 
Hence it would also be a good thing if there were fewer 
saint's days, ance in our times the works done on them 
are for the greater part worse than those of the work days, 
what with loafing, gluttony, and drunkenness, gambling 
and other evil deeds; and then, the mass and the sermon are 
listened to without edification, the prayer is ^xtken without 
faith. It almost happens that men think it is sufficient 
that we lo<^ on at the mass with our eyes, hear the preach- 
ing with our ears, and say the prayers with our mouths. 
It is all so formal and superficial! We do not think that 
we might receive something out of the mass into our hearts, 
learn and remember something out of the preaching, seek, 
desire and eipect something in our prayer. Although in 
this matter the bishops and priests, or they to whom the 
work of preaching is entrusted, are most at fault, because 
they do not preach the Gospel, and do not teach the 

* Hat, u ibo ia bit Catechism, LutbiT departs from the CM Teatunent (onn of 
the Third Coaunandment. Hia reatatemeet of it ia ertremely difficult to put Into 
Englixli, becauae of the varioua meaningi of the wonl Feiertag. It maj 
mean "day of nst." or "holiday," or "holy day." By the uae of tliii nord Lutha 
avoida the difficulty of firat retaining the Jewish Sabbath in the Commandtnent 
and then rejectins it in favor of the Chrinian Sunday In the eiplaoatioa. 


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The Third CmunandiiMiit 223 

people bow th^ ought to look on at mass, hear preaching 
and pray. Therefore, we will briefly explain these three 

n. In the mass it is necessary that we attend with our Tha 
hearts also; and we do attend, when we exercise faith in "•*• 
our hearts. Here we must repeat the words of Christ, 
when He institutes the mass and says, "Take and eat, Matt, 
this is My Body, which is given for you"; in like manner l^j' 
over the cup, "Take and drink ye all of it: this is a new, *»:j9 £ 
everlasting Testament in My Blood, which is shed for you 1 Cor. 
and for many for the remission of sins. This shall ye do, as ""'*' 
oft as ye do it, in remembrance of Me." In these words 
Christ has made for Himself a memorial or anniversary,* 
to be daily observed in all Christendom, and has added to 
it a glorious, rich, great testament, in which no interest, 
money or temporal possessions are bequeathed and dis- 
tributed, but the forgiveness of all sins, grace and mercy 
imto eternal life, that all who come to this memorial shall 
have the same testament; and then He died, whereby 
this testament has become permanent and irrevocable. 
In proof and evidence of whidi, instead of letter and seal, 
He has left with us His own Body and Blood under the 
bread and wine.* 

Here there is need that a man practise the first works of 
this Commandment right weU, that be doubt not that 
what Christ has said is true, and consider the testament 
sure, so that he make not Christ a liar. For if you are 
present at mass and do not con^der nor beheve that 
here Christ through His testament has bequeathed and 
given you forgiveness of all your sins, what else is it, than as 
if you said : "I do not know or do not believe that it is true 

* A nfoencc to the Requkm Mass, sung both at the burial of the dead, and 
n the Boniveiuiy of the day of death. The irord ttaoslated "menKirial," 
leglDgDJia, fa merally. "a burial service." 

*See aba the Treatise od the New T e s t a m e n t , ebewfacfe in this 

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234 Treatise m Good WoAs 

that for^veness of my ^ns is here bequeathed and gjven 
me"? Oh, how many masses there are in the world at 
present! but how few who hear them with such faith and 
benefit! Most grievously is God provoked to anger there- 
by. For this reason also no on<; ahft^^ '^r frft" ''^^'^!!y,^*^ 
fit_from_thg maa ex ce pt he bg^in trouble of soul and long 
for divine mergy, and desiie to be rid of his sins; or, if he 
' have an evil intention, he must be changed during the 
, mass, and come to have a desire for this testament. For 
I this reason in olden times no open sinner was allowed to be 
' present at the mass. 

' When thi s faith is rightly fresgit,^e_ h^t must he 
made_joyful by^ ^_testament,_and grow warm and melt in 
God's love. Then will follow praise and thanksgiving 
_with a pure heart, from which the mass is called in Greek 
_Eaxhar|stiaijliat iSL^thimtsgjvinfc" because we praise 
and thank God for this comforting,, ridtjtilessed testament, 
just as he gives thaiiks, praises and Is joyful, to whom a 
good friend has presented a thousand and more gulden. 
Although Christ often fares like those who make several 
persons rich by their testament, and these persons never 
think of them, nor praise or thank them. So our masses 
at present are merely cdebrated, without our knowing why 
or wherefore, and consequently we neither g^ve thanks nor 
love nor pnuse, remain parched and hard, and have enough 
with our little prayer. Of this more another time. 

Tiia m. The sermon ought to be nothing else than the 

^•™" proclamation of this testament. But who can hear it if 
Rom. no one preaches it? Now, th^ who ought to preach it, 

'"'** themselves do not know it. This is why the sermons ramble 

off into other unprofitable stories,' and thus Christ is for- 

a Eioc> gotten, while we fare like the man in ZI. Kings vii: we see 

'■" our riches but do not enjoy them. Of which the Preacher 

Minti u much u from Uk SKJe. 

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The Third Commandment sag 

also says, "This is a great evil, when God giveth a man EoIm. 
riches, and giveth him not power to enjoy them." So "^ 
we look on at unnumbered masses and do not know whether 
the mass be a testament, ot what it be, just as if it were 
any other cnmmon good work by itself. O God, how ex< 
ceeding blind we are I .But where this is rightly preached, 
it is necessary that it be diligently heard, grasped, retained, 
often thought of, and that the faith be Uius strengthened 
against all the temptation of sin, whether past, or present, 
or to come. 

Lo! this is the only ceremony or practice which Christ 
has instituted, in which His Christians shall assemble, 
exerdse themselves and keep it with one accord; and this 
He did not make to be a mere work like other ceremonies, 
but placed into it a rich, exceeding great treasure, to be 
offered and bestowed upon all who believe on it. 

This preaching should induce sinners to grieve ovn 
their sins, and ^ould kindle in them a longing for the 
treasure. It must, therefore, be a grievous sin not to heai 
the Gospel, and to despise such a treasure and so rich a 
feast to which we are bidden; but a much greater sin tMt 
to preach the Gospel, and to let so many people who would 
^adly hear it perish, since Christ has so strictly commanded 
that the Gospel and this testament be preached, that He 
does not wish even the mass to be celebrated, unless the 
Gospel be preached, as He says: "As oft as ye do this, 
remember me"; that is, as St. Paul says, "Ye shall preach i Cm. 
of His death." For this reason it is dreadful and horrible "'*^ 
in our times to be a bishop, pastor and preacher; for no one 
any longer knows this testament, to say nothing of thdr 
preaching it, although this is their highest and only duty 
and obligation. How heavily must they give account for 
so many souls who must perish because of this lack in 

IV. We should pray, not as the custom is, counting many Vatm 
pages or beads, but fixing our mind upon some presang 


aa6 Treatise on Good Worin 

need, desiie it with all earnestness, and exercise faith 
and confidence toward God m the matter, in such wise that 
we do not doubt that we shall be heard. So St Bernard* 
instructs his brethren and says: "Dear brethroi, you 
shall by no means despise your prayer, as if it were in vain, 
for I tell you of a truth that, before you have uttered the 
words, the prayer is already recorded in heav^; and you 
, 'V.- shall confidently eqpect from God one of two things: 
either that your prayer will be.sianted^ or that, if_it wUl. 
' not be e^^^fidi t\v gT'Mlt'Piif oiiLwouId not be, good for 

Fray^ is, therefore, a ^lecial exercise of faith, and faith 

makes the prayer so acceptable that either it will surely 

be granted, or something better than we ask will be given 

^t:6L in its stead. So also says St. James: "Let him who asketh 

of God not waver in faith; for if he wavers, let not that 

man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." 

This is a clear statement, which says directly: he who does 

not trust, receives nothing, neither that which he asks, nor 

anything better. 

And to call forth such faith, Girist Smself has said, 

Maik. Mark xi: "Therefore I say unto you. What things soever 

"'** ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and 

Lake ye shall Surely have them." And Luke xi: "Ask, and it 

"^ ' shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it 

shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh receiv- 

eth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh 

it shall be opened. Or what father is thtxe of you, who, if 

his son shall ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he 

ask a fish, will he pvt him a serpent? or if he ask an ^g, 

will he give him a scorpion? But if you know how to give 

good gifts to your children, and you yourselves are not 

naturally good, how much more shall your Father which is 

in heaven give a good spirit to all them that ask Himl" 

>LiTcd 1091-1153. Founder at the OstcrdHi moo»*Uxy tx Ctelrvan, of 
wtara Lutlkcr tf%: " If Uicre ever Uvcd on etrth k God-fnriii( and hotr uonk^ 
k WW Saint Beraud,o(Cl>imui." Ell. Ed.,36,>. 

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V. Who is so bard and stone-Hke, that such mighty m^ 
words ought not to move him to pray with all confidence Jjj,^ 
joyfully and gladly? But how many prayers must be 
reformed, if we are to pray aright according to these words I 
Now, indeed, all churches and monastic houses are full 
of praying and sin^ng, but how does it hapften that so 
little improvement and benefit result from it, and things 
daily grow worse? The reason is none other than that 
which St. James indicates when he says: "You ask much Ju. 4^ 
and receive not, because ye ask amiss." For where this 
faith and confidence is not in the prayer, the prayer is 
dead, and nothing more than a grievous labor and •work. 
If anything is given for it, it is none the less only temporal 
benefit wiUiout any blessing and help for the soul; nay, 
to the great injury and blinding of souls, so that they go 
their way, babbling much with their mouths, regardless of 
whether they receive, or desire, or trust; and in this un- 
belief, the state of mind most opposed to the exercise of 
faith and to the nature of prayer, they remain hardened. 

From this it follows that one who^prays arifcht. neyen. 
doubts that his prayer is sureTy acceptable and heard, 
although the very tKng ToTr"whidi Tie prays "Be not pvcn 
him. For we are toTay our need "before God m prayer, 
but not prescribe to Him a measure, numner, time or place; 
but if He wills to give it to us better or in another way 
than we think, we are to leave it to Him; for frequently we 
do not know what we pray, as St. Paul says, Romans viii; Ran.8:a6 
' and God works and gives above all that we understand, as 
he says, Ephesians iii, so that there be no doubt that the ^- 3:10 
prayer is acceptable and heard, and we yet leave to God 
the time, place, measure and limit; He will surely do what 
is ri^t. They are the true worshipers, who worship John 4-14 
God in spirit and in truth. For th^ who believe not that 
they will be heard, sin upon the left hand against this Com- 
mandment, and go far astray with their unbelief. But they 
who set a limit for Him, sin upon the other side, and come 
too close with their ten^ting of God. SoHehasfort^ddeQ 

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l^eatiM on Good Works 

,8:14 to the left nor to the right, that is, neither with imbelief 
nor with tempting, but with simple faith remain on the 
straight road, trusting Him, and yet setting Him no 

w«aii VI. Thus we see that this Commandment, like the 

Rttwon' Second, is to be nothing else than a doing and keeping of 

foe not the First Commandment, that is, of faith, trust, confidence, 

^^*^^ hope and love to God, so that in all the Commandments 

the First may be the captain, and futh the chief work and 

the life of all other works, without which, as was said, they 

cannot be good. 

Butifyousay: "What if I cannot believe that my prayer 
is heard and accepted?" I answer: For this very reason 
faith, prayer and all other good works are commanded, 
that you ^all know what you can and what you cannot do. 
And when you find that you cannot so befieve and do, then 
you are humbly to confess it to God, and so begin with a 
weak spark of faith and daily strengthen it more and more 
by exercising it in all your living and doing. For as touch- 
ing infirmity of faith (that is, of the First and highest 
Commandment), there is no one on earth who does not 
have his good share of it. For even the holy Apostles in 
the Gospel, and especially St. Peter, were weak in faith, 
Luke 17:5 so that they also prayed Christ and said: "Lord, increase 
Han. our faith " ; and He very frequently rebukes them because 
M^joff-tjiey iiave so little faith. 

Therefore you shall not despair, nor give up, even if 
you find that you do not believe as firmly as you ought 
and wish, in your prayer or in other works. Nay, you 
shall thank God with all your heart that He thus reveals 
to you your weakness, through which He daily teaches and 
admonishes you how much you need to exercise yourself 
and daily strengthen yourself in faith. For how many do 
you see who habitually pray, sing, read, work and seem to 
be great saints, and yet aevet get so far as to know wh^e 


The Thixd Conmiandmeat 339 

they stand in respect of the chief work, faith; and so in 
their blindness they lead astray themselves and others; 
think they are very well off, and so unknowingly build on 
the sand of thm works without any faith, not on God's 
nlercy and promise through a firm, pure faith. 

Therefore, however long we live, we shall always have 
our hands full to remain, with all our works and sufferings, 
pupils of the First Commandment and of faith, and not 
to cease to learn. J^'o one knows what a great thing it is 
to {pi fit Gqd alflinff, pT'~ff t bft who attempts it with his 

VII. Again: if no other work were commanded, would Pmjw 
not prayer alone suffice to exercise the whole life of man in ^^^ 
faith? For this work the spiritual estate has been spe- 
cially established, as indeed in olden times some Fathers 
prayed day and night. Nay, there is no Christian who does 
not have time to pray witliout ceasing. But I mean the 
spiritual praying, that is: no one is so heavily burdened 
with bis labor, but that if he will he can, while working, 
speak with God in his heart, lay before Him his need and 
that of other men, ask for help, make petition, and in all 
this exercise and strengthoi his faith. 

This is what the Lord means, Luke xviii, when He says, Lake iS:i 
"Men ought always to pray, and never cease," althou^ in 
Matthew vi. He forbids the use of much speaking and long Matt. 6:; 
prayers, because of which He rebukes the hypocrites ; not 
because the lengthy prayer of the lips is evil, but because 
it is not that true prayer which can be made at all times, 
and without the inner prayer of faith is nothing. For 
we must also practise the outward prayM in its proper 
time, especially in the mass, as this Commandment requires, 
' and wlKtever it is helpful to the inner prayer and faith, 
whether In the house or in the field, in this work or in that; 
of which we have no time now to speak more. For this 
belongs to the Lord's Prayer, in which all petitions and 
qpoken prayer are summed up in brief words. 

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230 Treatise oa Good WoAs 

Vni. iWhere now are they who desire to know and to do 
good works? Let them undertake prayer alone, and 
lightly exercise themselves in faith, and they will find that 
it is true, as the holy Fathers have said, that there ia no 
work like prayer. 3 Mumbling with the mouth is easy, or at 
least considered easy, but with earnestness of heart to 
follow the words in deep devotion, that is, with desire and 
faith, so that one earnestly desires what the words say, 
and not to doubt that it will be heard: that is a great deed 
in God's eyes. 

Here the evil spirit hinders men with all bis powers. 
Oh, how often will he here prevent the desire to pray, 
not allow us to find time and place, nay, often also raise 
doubts, whether a man is worthy to ask anything of such a 
Majesty as God is, and so confuse us that a man bimseU 
does not know whether it is really true that he prays or 
not; whether it is possible that Us prayer is acceptable, 
and other such strange thou^ts. For the evil spirit knows 
well how powerful one man's truly beUeving prayer is, and 
bow it hurts him, and how it benefits all men. Therefore 
be does not willingly let it happen. 

When so tempted, a man must indeed be wise, and not 
doubt that be and his prayer are, indeed, unworthy before 
gudi_ infinite Majesty^ in no wise dare he trust his worthi- 
ness, or because of his unworthiness grow faint; but he 
must heed God's command and cast this up to Him, and 
hold it before the devil, and say: "Because of my worthiness 
I do nothing, because of my imworthiness I cease from 
nothing. I pray and work only because God of His pure 
mercy has proniised to hear and to be gracious to all im- 
worthy men, and not only promised it, but He has also 
most sternly, on pain of H^ everlasting displeasure and 
wrath, ommianded us to pray, to trust and to receive. 
If it has not been too much for that high Majesty so 
solemnly and hi^y to obligate Hts unworthy worms to 
pray, to trust, and to recwve from Him, how sbaJl it be too 
much for me to take such command upon myself with all 

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The Third CMmnandmeiit 231 

jc^,- however worthy or unworthy I may be?" Thus 
we must drive out the devil's suggestion with God's com- 
mand. Thus will he cease, and in no other way whatever. 

IX. But what are the things which we must bring wiuu 
before Almighty dod in prayer and lamentation, to ezer- |^ 
cise faith thereby? Answer: First, every man's own be- Pmj Fw 
setting need and trouble, of which David says, Psalm zxzii: p>. 3>7 
"Thou art my refuge in all trouble which compasseth me 
about; Thou art my comfort, to preserve me from all evil 
which surrounds me." likewise, Psahn adii: "I cried p*. 141:1 
unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord 
did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint 
before Him; I showed before Him my trouble." In the 
mass a Christian shall keep in mind the short-comings 
or excesses he feels, and pour out all these freely before 
God with weeping and groaning, as woefully as he can, as 
to his faithful Father, who is ready to help him. And if 
you do not know or recognise your need, or have no trouble, 
then you shall know that you are in the worst possible 
plight. For this is the greatest trouble, that you find 
yourself so hardened, hard-hearted and insensible that 
no trouble moves you. 

There is no bettM^ mirror in which to see your need 
than simply the Ten Commandments, in'whicE you will 
' find what you tack and what you should seek. If,^ere- 
fore,you find in yourself a weak faith, small hope and littie 
love toward God; and that you do not praise and honor 
God, but love your own honor and fame, think much of 
the favor of men, do not gladly hear mass and sermon, 
are indolent in prayer, in which things every one has faults, 
then you shall think more of these faults than of all bodily 
harm to goods, honor and life, and believe that they are 
worse than death and all mortal sickness. These you shall 
WDCStty l^y before God, lament and ask for help, and with 
all con&lence e:q)ect help, and believe that you are heard 
and sSair oblaia he^ and mercy. 

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333 Treatise on Good Works 

Then go forward into the Second Table of the Command- 
ments, and see how disobedient you have been and still 
are toward father and mother and all in authority; how you 
sin against your neighbor with anger, hatred and evil 
words; how you are tempted to unchastity, covetousness 
and injustice in word and deed against your neighbor; and 
you will doubtless find that you are full of all need and 
misery, and have reason enou^ to weep even drops of 
blood, if you could.* 

X. But I know well that many are so foolish as not to 

I want to ask for such things, unless they first be conscious 

I that they are pure, and believe that God hears no one who 

is a sinner. All this is the work, of those false preachers, 

who teach men to begin, not with faith and trust in God's 

favor, but with their own works. 

Look you, wretched man I if you have broken a leg, or 
the peril of death overtakes you, you call upon God, this 
Saint and that, and do not wait until your leg is healed, 
or the danger is past: you are not so foolish as to think 
that God hears no one whose leg is broken, or who is in 
bodily danger. Nay, you believe that God shall hear 
most of all when you are in the greatest need and fear. 
Why, then, are you so foolish here, where there is im- 
measurably greater need and eternal hurt, and do not want 
to ask for faith, hope, love, humility, obedience, chastity, 
gentleness, peace, righteousness, unless you are already 
free of all your unbelief, doubt, pride, disobedience, un- 
chastity, anger, covetousness and unrighteousness. Al- 
though themore you find y ourse lf lacking in th«ie^^ing, 
, the more and mor e dilig ently you ought to pray or cry. 
So blind are we: with our bodily sickness an J nee3" we 
run to God; with the soul's sickness we run from Him, and 
are unwilling to come back lief ore ~we are well, exactly as 
if there could be one God who could help the body, and 

ition «I CoDtetaloa, kbove, p. 8i f. 

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The Third C<»ninaudmeiit 233 

another God who could help the soul; or as if we would 
help ourselves in spiritual need, although it really is greater 
ibaa the bodily need. Such plan and counsel is of the 

Not so, my good man! If you wish to be cured of sin, ' 
you must not withdraw from God, but run to Him, and 
pray with much more confidence than if a bodily need had 
overtaken you. GQdjs.not hc«tile tosinnersj b ut only to 
iigheticvCTs. that is, to sucb as do not recognize and lament 
their sin, nor seek help against it from God, but in their 
jovm presumption wish first to purify themselves, are un- 
willing to be in need of His grace, and will not suffer Him 
to be a God Who gives to everyone and takes nothing in 

XI. All this has been said of prayer for personal needs, ( 
and of prayer in general. But the prayer which really *"'* 
belongs to this Commandment and is called a work of the 
Holy Day, is far better and greater, and is to be made for 
all Christendom, for all the need of all men, of foe and 
friend, especially for those who belong to the parish or 

Thus St. Paul commanded his disciple Timothy: "I i Tim. 
exhort thee, that thou see to it, that prayers and interces- *'' 
sions be made for all men, for kings, and for all that are in 
authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life 
in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and accept- 
able in the sight of God our Saviour." For this reason 
Jeremiah, chapter zxiz, commanded the people of Israel Ja- '9-7 
to pray for the dty and land of Babylon, because in the 
peace thereof th^ should have peace. And Baruch i: 
"Pray for the life of the king of Babylon and for the life Bm. 
of his son, that we may live in peace imder their nile." '*" 

This common prayer is precious and the most powerful, iw. s6:j 
and it is for its sf^e that we come together. For this reason "*"' 
also the Church is called a House of Prayer, because in it 
we are as a congregation with one accord to consider our 


234 Treatise on Good Works 

need and the needs of all men, present than before God, 
and call upon Him for mercy. But this must be done 
with heart-felt emotion and sincerity, so that we feel in 
our hearts the need of all men, and that we pray with true 
empathy for them, in true faith and confidence. Where 
such prayers are not made in the mass, it were better to 
omit the mass. For what sense is there in our coming to- 
gether into a House of Prayer, which a)ming together 
shows that we should make common prayer and petition 
for the entire congregation, if we scatter these prayers, and 
so distribute them that everyone prays only for himself, 
and no one has r^ard for the other, nor concerns himself for 
another's need? How can that prayer be of help, good, ac- 
ceptable and a conunon prayer, or a work of the H<dy 
Day and of the assembled congregation, '^lich they make 
who make their own petty prayers, one for this, the other 
for that, and have nothing but self-seeking, selfish prayers, 
which God hates? 

XII. A suggestion of this common prayer has been re- 
tained from ancient practice, when at the end of the sermon 
the Confession of Sins is said and prayer is made on the pul- 
[nt for all Christendom. But this should not be the end 
of the matter, as is now the custom and ^ishion; it should 
be an exhortation to pray throughout the entire mass for 
such need as the preacher makes us feel; and in order that 
we may pray worthily, he first exhorts us because of our 
sn, and thereby makes us humble. This should be done 
as briefly as pos^le, that then the entire congregation 
may confess tiidr own sin and pray for every one with 
earnestness and faith. 

Oh, if God granted that any congregation at aU heard 

I mass and prayed in this way, so that a conunon earnest 

Vnjta heart-cry of the entire people would rise up to God, what 

immeasurable virtue and help would result from such a 

prayer I What more terrible thing could haK>en to all the 

evil spirits? What greater work could be done on earth. 

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The Third Commandment 33s 

whereby so many pious souls would be preserved, so many 
sinners converted? 

For, indeed, the Christian Chiuch on earth has no greater 
power or work than such conunon prayer against everything 
that may oppose it. This the evil spirit knows well, and 
therefore he does all that he can to prevent such prayer. 
Gleefully he lets us go on building churches, endowing 
many monastic houses, making muac, reading, singing, 
observing many masses, and multiplying ceremonies be- 
yond all measure. This does not grieve him, nay, he helps 
us do it, that we may consider such things the very best, 
and think that thereby we have done our whole duty. But 
in that meanwhile this conmion, effectual and fruitful 
prayer perishes and its omission is unnoticed because of 
such display, in this he has what he seeks. For when 
prayer languishes, no one will take anything from him, and 
no one will withstand him. But if he noticed that w« 
wished to practise this prayer, even if it were under a 
straw roof or in a pig-sty, he would indeed not endure it, 
but would fear sudi a pig-sty far more than aU the high, 
big and beautiful churches, towers and bells in existence, 
if such prayer be not in them. It is indeed not a question 
of the places and buildings in which we assemble, but only 
of this tmconquerable prayer, that we pray it and bring it 
before God as a truly common prayer. 

Xm. The povtx of this prayw we see in the fact that Pnttt 
in olden times Abraham prayed for the five cities, Sodom, J^^** 
Gomorrah, etc., Genesis xviii, and accomplished so much, turn 
that if there had been ten righteous pe(^le in them, two ^^_ 
in each dty, God would not have destroyed them. What * ^' 
thai could many men do, if they unit^ in calling upon 
God earnestly and with ^cere confidence? 

St. James also says: "Dear brethren, pray for one an- Ju- 
other, that ye may be saved. For the prayer of a righteous ^'' 
man availeth much, a prayer that perseveres and does not 
cease" (that is, which does not cease asking ever mwe and 


336 Treatise on Good Worki 

more, although what it asks is not immediately granted, 
as some timid men do). And as an example in this matter 
he sets before ns Elijah, the Prophet, "who was a man," 
he says, "as we are, and prayed, that it mi^t not rain; 
and it rained not by the space of three years and ^ 
months. And he prayed again, and it rained, and every- 
thing became fruitful." There are many texts and ex- 
amples in the Scriptures which urge us to pray, only that 
it be done with earnestness and faith. As David says, 
i^ 33:18 "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His 
Pa- ears are open tmto their cry." Again, "The Lord is ni^ 
**^'' unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon 
Him in truth." Why does he add, "call upon Him in 
truth"? Because that is not prayer nor calling upon 
God when the mouth alone mumbles. 
Thottflit- What should God do, if you come along with your 
PrajM mouth, book or Paternoster,' and think of nothing exc^t 
that you may finish the words and complete the numba? 
So that if some one were to ask you what it aU was about, 
or what it was that you prayed for, you yourself would not 
know; for you had not thou^t of laying this or that mattw 
before God or desiring it. Your only reason for praying 
is that you are commanded to pray this and so much, and 

Ithis you intend to do in full. What wonder that thimd^ 
and lightning frequently set churches on fire, because we 
thus make of the House of Prayer a house of mockery, and 
call that prayer in which we bring nothing before God 
and deare nothing from Him. 

But we should do as they do who wish to ask a favor 
of great princes. These do not plan merely to babble a 
certain nxunber of words, for the prince would think they 
mocked him, or were insane; but they put their request 
very pl^nly, and present their need earnestly, and then 

* Hk pnTEi-book ud the tctuy, Tbe Brevbiy, » cdlectloii of prtyen, wia 
used by the decgy; the RoauY> the beuli of which repccaent pnyen. the inuBef 
and mare Dumetoiu Av« HarUs, the kiger the Lord'i Pnyei, Pat«r- 
BOtter. wu the Uynun'i pnyer-book. 

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The Third Commandmant 237 

leave it to his mercy, in good confidence that he will grant 
it. So we must d^ with God of definite things, namely, | 
mention some present need, commend it to His mercy and I 
good-will, and not doubt tl^t it is heard; for He has prom- ' 
ised to hear such prayer, which do earthly lord has done. 

XIV. We are masters in this form of prayer when wejitutM 
suffer bodily need; when we are sick we call here upon St.; '**''' 
Christopher, there upon St. Barbara*; we vow a pilgrimage 
to St. James*, to this place and to that; then we make earnest 
prayer, have a good confidence and every good kind of 
prayer. But when we are in our churches during mass, we 
stand like images of saints;* know nothing to speak of 
or to lament; the beads rattle, the pages rustle and the 
mouth babbles; and that is all there is to it. 

But if you ask what you shall speak of and lament in 
your prayer, you can easily leam from the Ten Command- 
ments and the Lord's Prayer. Open your eyes and look 
into your life and the life of all Christians, especially of the 
Sfnritual estate, and you will find how faith, hope, love, 
obedience, chastity and every virtue languish, and all 
manner of heinous vices reign; what a lack there is of 
good preachers and prelates; bow only knaves, children, 
fools and women rule. Then you will see that there were 
need every hour without ceasing to pray everywhere with ^ 
tears of blood to God, Who is so terribly angry with men. 
And it is true that it has never been more necessary to 
pray than at this time, and it will be more so from now on 
to the end of the world. If such terrible crimes do not 
move you to lament and complain, do not permit yourself 
to be led astray by your nmk, station, good works at 
prayer: there is no Qiristian vein or trait in you, how- 
ever righteous you may be. But it has all been foretold, 

ICI. iDtToductioD to The Fouiteeo of CoosolitJon, p. lofi. 

*S« note. p. 19T. 

* The Gcnmn, OclBStien, mcuii the wooden Inugei ol Hints, which 
were painted with oil paint*. It wu tnnslerred to uiy dull penan, blodt-head, 
■ometimes uIm to prioti, who mn uurinted with oil U their consecntioa. 


23& Treatise on Good Works 

that when God's anger is greatest and Christendom suffers 
the greatest need, then petitioners and supplicants before 
God shall not be found, as Isaiah says irith tears, chapt^ 

Im.64:t Iziv: "Thou art angry with us, and there is none that 
calleth upon Thy Name, that stirreth up himself to take 

Enk. hold of Thee." Likewise, Ezekiel xxii: "I sought for a 
"^ man among them, that fjiould make up the hedge, and 
stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not 
destroy it; but I found none. Therefore have I poured 
out Iii^e indignation upon them; I have consumed them 
with the fire of My wrath." With these words God indi- 

^i:it ff. ^^^ ^^^ ^^ wants us to withstand Him and turn away 

Nam. His anger from one another, as it is frequently written of 
u|ii It. ^J^^ Prophet Moses, that he restrained God, lest His anger 

Pi.io6:i3 should overwhelm the people of Israel. 

Th« XV. But what will they do, who not only do not regard 

^^^ such misfortune of Christendom, and do not pray against 

Men it, but laugh at it, take pleasure in it, condenm, malign, 

sing and talk of their neighbor's dns, and yet dare, unafnud 

and unashamed, go to church, hear mass, say prayers, and 

r^ard themselves and are regarded as pious Christians? 

These truly are in need that we pray twice for them, if we 

pray once for those whom they condemn, talk about and 

lau^ at. That there would be such is also prophesied by 

Luke the thief on Christ's left band, who blasphemed Him in 

*^^^ His suffering, weakness and need; also by all those who 

reviled Christ on the Cross, when they should most of all 

have helped Him. 

O God, bow blind, nay, how insane have we Christians 
become 1 When will there be an end of wrath, O heavenly 
Father? That we mock at the misfortune of Christendom, 
to pray for which we gather together in Church and at the 
mass, that we blaspheme and condemn men, this is the 
£ruit of our mad materiahsm.^ If the Turk destroys cities, 



The Third Commiindmeat 339 

countiy and people, and ruins chutxbes, we think a great 
injury has been done Christendom. Then we complain, and 
urge kings and princes to war. But when faith perishes, 
love grows cold, God's Word is neglected, and all manner 
of »n flourishes, then no one thinks of fighting, nay, pope, 
bishops, priests and clergy, who ought to' be generals, cap- 
tains and standard-bearers in this spiritual warfare against 
these sinritual and many times worse Turks, these are them- 
selves the very princes and leaders of sudi Turks and of 
the devil host, just as Judas was the leader of the Jews Lake 
when they took Christ. It had to be an apostle, a bishop, ' **^' 
a priest, one of the number of the best, who b^an the work ' 
of slaying Christ. So also must Christendom be laid 
waste by no others than those who ought to protect it, and 
yet are so insane that they are ready to eat up the Turk, 
and at home themselves set house and sheep-cote on fire 
and let them bum up with the sheep and all other contents, 
and none the less worry about the wolf in the woods. Such 
are our times, and this is the reward we have earned by 
our ingraritude toward the aidless grace which Christ 
has won for us freely with His predous blood, grievous 
labor and bitter death. A 

XVI. Lol where are the idle ones, who do not know how Prarw 
to do good works? Where are they who run to Rome, to ^^ 
St. James, hither and thither? Take up this one single o«od 
work of the mass, look on your neighbor's sin and ruin, ^^^ 
and have pity on him; let it grieve you, tell it to God, and 
pray over it. Do the same for every other need of Chris- 
tendom, especially of the rulers, whom God, for the intoler- 
able punishment and torment of us all, allows to fall and be 
misled so terribly. If you do this diligently, be assured 
you are one of the best fighters and captains, not only 
against the Turks, but also against the devils and the 
powers of hell. But if you do it not, what would it help yoa 
though you performed all the miracles of the saints, and 
1 all the Turks, and yet were found guilty of hav- 


240 Treattse oa Good Works 

ing disregarded your neighbor's need and of having thereby 
sinned against love? For Christ at the last day will not 
ask bow much you have prayed, fasted, pilgrim^ed, done 

"'j'^io, *^ •*' tfa^t '•"■ yourself, but how much good you have done 
45 ' to others, even the very least. 

Now without doubt amongthe "least" are also those who 
are in sin and spiritual poverty, captivity and need, of 
whom there are at present far more than of those who suffer 
bodily need. Therefore take heed: our own self-assumed 
good works lead us to and into ourselves, that we seek 
only our own benefit and salvation; but God's command- 
ments drive us to our neighbor, that we may thereby bene- 
fit others to their salvation. Just as Christ on the Cross 
prayed not for Himself alone, but rather for us, when He 

Lnkc said, "Father, forgive them, forj they know not what 
**■'* they do," so we also must pray for one another. From 
which every man may know that the slanderers, frivolous 
judges and despisers of other people are a perverted, evil 
race, who do nothing else than heap abuse on those for 
whom they ought to pray; in which vice no one is sunk 
so deep as those very men who do many good wo^ of 
their own, and seem to men to be something eztraordinaiy, 
and are honored because of their beautiful, splendid life in 
manifold good works. 

The XVn. Spiritually understood, this Commandment has 

j)„ * a yet far higher work, which embraces the whole nature of 
man. Here it must be known that in Hebrew " Sabbath " 
means "rest," because on the seventh day God rested and 
Gen. arj ceased from all His works, which He had made. Genesis ii. 
Therefore He commanded also that the seventh day 
should be kept holy and that we cease from our works 
which we do the other ax days. This Sabbath has now 
for us been changed into the Sunday, and the other days 
are called work-days; the Sunday is called rest-day or 
holiday or holy day. And would to God that in Christen- 
dom there were no holiday extxpt the Sunday; that the 


The Tbltd Commandment 341 

festivals of Our Lady and of the S^ts were all transferred 
to Sunday; then would many evil vices be done away with 
throu^ the labor of the work-days, and lands would not be 
80 drained and impoverished. But now we are [dagued 
with many holidays, to the destruction of souls, bodies 
and goods; of which matter much might be said. 

This rest or cea^g from labors is of two kinds, bodily 
and spiritual. For this reason this Commandment is 
also to be understood in two ways. 

The bodily rest is that of nhidi we have spoken above, TheKwt 
namely, that we omit our business and work, in order that q^. 
we may gather in the church, see mass, hear God's Word 
and make common prayer. This rest is indeed bodily 
and in Christendom no longer commanded by God, as the 
Apostle says, Colossians ii, "Let no man obligate you to CoL i:it 
any holiday whatever" — for they were of old a figure, but 
now the truth has been fulfilled, so that all days are holy 
days, as Isaiah says, chapter Izvi, "One holy day shall it- «:m 
follow the other"; on the other hand, all days are work- 
days. Yet it is a necessity and ordained by the Church 
for the sake of the imperfect liuty and working people, 
that they also may be able to come to hear God's Word. 
For, as we see, the priests and clergy celebrate mass every 
day, pray at all hours and train themselves in God's Word 
by study, reading and hearing. For this reason also they 
are freed from work before others, supported by tithes 
and have holy-day every day, and every day do the works 
of the holy-day, and have no work-day, but for them one 
day is as the other. And if we were all perfect, and knew' 
the Gospel, we might work every day if we wished, or rest 
if we cotild. For a day of rest is at present not necessary 
nor commanded except only for the teaching of God's 
Word and prayer. 

The spiritual rest, which God particularly intends in nuKaM 
this Commandment, is this: that we not only cease from our g^ 
labor and trade, but much more, that we let God alone work 
in us and that we do nothing of our own with all our 


Ha Treatise on Good Works 

powers. But bow is this done? In this way: Man, cor- 
rupted by sin, has much wicked love and inclination toward 
•m. S:ii all ^ns, as the Scriptures say, Cenesisviii, "Man's heart 
and senses incline always to the evil," that is, to pride, 
disobedience, anger, Imtred, covetousness, unchastity, 
etc., and summa summarum, inall that he does 
and leaves undone, he seeks bis own profit, will and honor 
rather than God's and bis neighbor's. Therefore all bis 
works, all his words, ail his thoughts, all his life are evil 
and not godly. 

Now if God is to work and to live in him, all this vice 
and wickedness must be choked and up-rooted, so that 
there may be rest and a cessation of all our works, thoughts 

••L aiM and life, and that henceforth (as St. Paul says, Galatians ii.) 
it may be no longer we who live, but Christ Who lives, 
worits and speaks in us. Hiis is not accinnplished with 
comfortable, pleasant days, but here ,we must hurt our 

CaL 1:17 nature and let it be hurt. Here begins the strife between 
the spirit and the flesh ; here the ^irit resists anger, lust, 
pride, while the flesh wants to be in pleasure, honor and 

G*L j:)4 comfort. Of this St. Paul says, Galatians v, "They that 
are our Lord Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affec- 
tions and lusts." Then follow the good works, — fasting, 
watching, labor, of which some say and write so much, 
although they know neither the source nor the purpose of 
these good works. Therefore we will now also speak of them. 

Tii« Two XVIII. This rest, namely, that our work cease and God 
JJ^ alone work in us, is accomplished in two ways. First, 
KMtof through our own effort, sectmdly, through the effort or 
urging of others. 

Our own effort is to be so made and ordered that, in the 

first place, when we see our flesh, senses, will and thoughts 

tempting us, we resist them and do not heed them, as the 

Sir. 18:30 Wise Man says: "Follow not thine own desires." And 

Dmt. Moses, Deuteronomy xii: "Thou shalt not do what is right 

" in thine own eyes." 

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TtM Third Commandment 243 

Here a man must make daily use of those prayers which 
David prays: "Lord, lead me in Thy path, and let me not Pi- no: 
walk in my own ways," and many like prayers, which are all ^'' " 
summed up in the prayer, "Thy kingdom come." For 
the desires are so many, so various, and besides at times 
so nimble, so subtile and specious, throu^ the suggestions 
of the evil one, that it is not possible for a man to control 
himself in his own ways. He must let hands and feet go, 
commend himself to God's governance, and entrust nothing 
to his reason, as Jeremiah says, "O Lord, I know that the Jer. um 
way of man is not in his own power." We see proof of this, 
when the children of Israel went out of Egypt throu^ the 
Wilderness, where there was no way, no food, no drink, no 
help. Therefore God went before them, by day in a bright Ei- tj:it; 
cloud, by night in a fiery pillar, fed them with manna from j^^ ' 
heav^i, and kept their garments and shoes that they waxed ag^i t- 
not old, as we read in the Books of Moses. For this reason 
we pray: "Thy kingdom come, that Thou rule lis, and not Uttt 
we ourselves," for .tiiere^ is nothing more perilous in us *'" 
than our reason and will- And this is the fii^t and highest 
work of God in us and the best training, that we cease 
from our works, that we let our reason and will be idle, 
that we rest and commend ourselves to God in all things, 
espedally when they seem to be spiritual and good. 

XDC. After this comes the discipline of the flesh, to kill rtriai 
its gross, evil lust, to give it rest and relief. This we must 
kill and quiet with fasting, watching and labor, and from 
this we learn how much and why we shall fast, watch and 

There are, alasl many blind men, who practise their 
casb'gation, whether it be fasting, watching or labor, only 
because they think these are good works, intending by them 
to gain much merit. Far blinder still are they who measure 
their fasdng not only by the quantity or duration, as these 
do, but also by the nature of the food, thinking that it is 
of far greater worth if they do not eat meat, eggs or butter. 

.,, Google 

344 Treatise on Good Works 

Beyond these are those who fast according to the saints, 
and according to the days; one fasting on Wednesday, 
another on Saturday, another on St. Barbara's day, another 
on St. Sebastian's day,* and so on. These all seek in thdr 
fasting nothing beyond the work itself: when they have 
performed that, they think th^ have done a good work. 
I will here say nothhig of the fact that some fast in such a 
way that they none the less drink themselves full; some fast 
by eating fish and other foods so lavishly that they would 
come much nearer to fasting if they ate meat, eggs and but- 
ter, and by so doing would obtain far better results from 
their fasting. For such fasting is not fasting, but a mock- 
ery of fasting and of God. 

Therefore I allow everyone to choose his day, food 
and quantity for fasting, as he will, on condition that he do 
not stop with that, but have regard to his flesh ; let him put 
upon it fasting, watching and labor according to its lust 
and wantonness, and no more, although pope. Church, 
bishop, father-confessor or any one else whosoever have 
commanded it. For no one should measure and regulate 
fasting, watching and labor according to the character or 
quantity of the food, or according to the days, but accord- 
ing to the withdrawal or approach of the lust and wanton- 
ness of the flesh, for the sake of which alone the fasting, 
watching and labor is ordained, that is, to kill and to sub- 
due them. If it were not for this lust, eating were as 
meritorious as fasting, sleeping as watching, idleness as 
labor, and each were as good as the other without all dis- 

na XX. Now, if some one should And that more wantonness 

^^!^ arose in his flesh from eating fish than from eating eggs 
VudBg and meat, let him eat meat and not fish. Again, if he 

* St. BubuB, t kfeadaiy saiat, whoie dijr ftS« on Dccembei 4, wm <*""|^< 
to protect Bgkioit (tonn utd Ere. See above, p. 147. St. Sebutiaii, a maitTi of 
the third txatniy, wbow day lalla od Januaiy ao, was lupposed to wan! oB the 

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The Third Commandment 345 

find that his head becomes confused and crazed or his body 
and stomach injured through fasting, or that it is not need- 
ful to kill the wantonness of his flesh, he shaU let fasting 
alone entirely, and eat, sleep, be idle as is necessary for 
his health, regardless whether it be f^aiost the command 
of the Church, or the rules of monastic orders: for no* 
commandment of the Church, no law of an order can 
make fasting, watching and labor of more value than it has 
in serving to repress or to kill the flesh and its lusts. Where 
men go beyond this, and the fasting, eating, sleeping, 
watching are practised beyond the strength of the body, 
and more than is necessary to the killing of the lust, so 
that through it the natural strength is ruined and the 
head is racked; then let no one imagine that he has done 
good works, or excuse himself by dting the commajadment 
of the Church or the law of his order. He will be regarded 
as a man who takes no care of hunself , and, as far as in him 
lies, has become his own muido^. 

For the body is not given us that we should kill its 
natural life or work, but only that we killits wantonness; 
unless its wantonness were so strong and great that we 
could not sufficiently resist it without ruin and harm to 
the natural life. For, as has been said, in the practice of 
fasting, watching and Iabor> we are not to look upon the 
works in themselves, not on the days, not on the number, 
not on the food, but only on the wanton and lustful Adam, 
that through them he may be cured of his evil appetite. 

XXX. From this we can judge how wisdy or foolishly Vooiiab 
some wcnnen act when they are with child, and how the ^^ 
sick are to be treated. For the foolish women cling so roouah 
firmly to their fasting that th^ run the risk of great ^'tl^ ' 
danger to the fruit of their womb and to themselves, rather log 
than not to fast when the others fast They make a matter 
of conscience where there is none, and where there is matter 
of conscience they make none. This is all the fault of the 
preachers, because they continually prate of fasting, and 
never point out its true use, limit, fruit, cause and purpose. 


346 Treatise on Good Works 

So also the sick should be allowed to eat and to drink every 
day whatever they wish. In brief, where the wantonness 
of the flesh ceases, there every reason for fasting, watch- 
ing, laboring, eating this or that, has already ceased, and 
there no longer is any binding commandment at all. 

But then care must be taken, lest out of this freedom 
tliere grow a lazy indifference about killing the wantonness 
of the flesh; for the roguish Adam is exceedingly tricky 
in looking for permission for himself, and in pleading tlie 
ruin of the body or of the mind; so some men jump right in 
and say it is neither necessary nor commanded to fast or 
to mortify the flesh, and are ready to eat this and that 
without fear, just as if they had for a long time had 
much experience of fasting, although they have never 
tried it 

No less are we to guard against offending those who, not 
sufficiently informed, regard it a great sin if we do not fast 
or eat as they do. These we must kindly instruct, and not 
haughtily despise, nor eat this or that in despite of them, 
but we must tell them the reason why it is right to do so, 
and thus gradually lead them to a correct understanding. 
But if they are stubborn and will not listen, we must let 
them alone, and do as we know it is right to do. 

Soflarini XXII. The second form of disc^line which we receive 
at the hands of others, is when men or devils cause us suffer- 
ing, as when our property is taken, our body ack, and our 
honor taken away; and everything that may move us to 
anger, impatience and unrest. For God's work rules in 
us according to His wisdom, not according to our wisdcmi, 
according to His purity and chastity, not according to the 
wantonness of our flesh; for God's work is wisdom and pur- 
ity, our work is foolishness and impxirity, and these shall 
rest: so in like manner it should rule in us according to His 
peace, not our anger, impatience and lack of peace. For 
peace too is God's work, impatience is the work of our flesh; 
this shall rest and be doid, that we thus in every way keq> 


The Third CommandiMnt 247 

a spiritual holiday, let our works stand idle, and let God 
work in us. 

^hieref ore in order to kill our works and the Adam in 
us, God heaps many temptations iipon us, which move us 
to anger, many suff^ings, which rouse us to impatience, 
and last of all death and the world's abuse; whereby He 
seeks nothing else than that He may drive out anger, im- 
patience and tack of peace, and attain to His work, that is, 
to peace, in us. Thus says Isaiah zzviii, "He does the I*. »*■■'* 
■ work of another that He may crane to His own work." 
What does this mean? He sends us suffering and trouble . 
that He may teach \is tO have patience and peace; He bids 
us die that He may make us live, imtil a man, thoroughly 
trained, becomes so peaceful and quiet that he is not dis- 
turbed, whether it go well or ill wiUi him, whether he die 
or live, be honored or dishonored. J There God Himself 
dwells alone, and there are no works of men. lliis is rightly 
keeping and hallowing the day of rest; then a man does 
not guide himself, then he desires nothing for himself, 
then nothing troubles him; but God Himself leads him, 
there is naught but godly pleasure, joy and peace with all 
other wraks and virtues. 

XXm. These works He considers so great that He com- Tiia 
mands us not only to keep the day of rest, but also to hal- ^ uT" 
low it or regard it as holy, whereby He declares that there mMr 
are no more precious th^igs than suffering, dying, and all 
manner of misfortune.' For they are holy and sanctify 
a man from his works to God's works, just as a church is 
consecrated from natural works to the worship of God. 
Therefore a man ^all also recognise them as holy things, 
be ^ad and thank God when they come upon hhn. For 
when they come they make hitn holy, so that he fulfils 
this Commandment and is saved, redeemed frran all bis 
sinful works. Thus says David: "Precious in the ^ght of Fb.ii6:is 
the Lord is the death of His saints." 

iitaen of Consolation, itordp.!! 

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148 Trwfiise on Good Works 

In order to strengthen us thereto He has not only com- 
manded us to keep such a rest (for nature is very unwilling 
to die and to suffer, and it is a bitter day of rest for it to 
cease from its works and be dead) ; but He has also com- 
forted us in the Scriptures with many words and told us, 
p*- 9t:t5 Psalm zci, "I will be with him in all his trouble, and will 
Fi. 34:18 deliver him." Likewise Psalm zxziv: "The Lord is nigh 
unto all them that suffer, and will help them." 

As if this were not enough, He has given us a powerful, 
strong example of it, His only, dear Son, Jesus Christ, our 
Lord, who on the Sabbath lay in the tomb the entire day of 
rest, free from all His works, and was the first to fulfil this 
Commandment, although He needed it not for Himself, 
but only for our comfort, that we also in all suffering and 
death should be quiet and have peace. Since, as Christ was 
raised up after His rest and henceforth lives only in God 
and God in Him, so also shall we by the death of our Adam, 
which is perfectly accomplished only through natural 
death and burial, be lifted up into God, that God may live 
and work in us forever. Lo I these are the three parts of 
i man: reason, desire, aversion; in which all his works are 
Idone. These, therefore, must be slain by these three ezer- 
; < dses, God's governance, our self-mortification, the hurt 
1 1 done to us by others; and so they must spiritually rest be- 
-I fore God, and give Him room for His works. 

The Cir- XXIV. But such works are to be done and such suffer- 
j^*^, * ings to be endured in faith and in sure confidence of God's 
Com- favor, in order that, as has been said,* all works remain in 
the First Commandment and in faith, and that faith, for 
the sake of which all other commandments and works are 
ordained, exercise and strengthen itself in them. See, 
therefore, what a pretty,, golden ring these three Com- 
mandments and their works naturally form, and how from 
the First Commandment and faith the Second flows on to 

' P»«« 194 1- 

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The Third Commandment jmo 

the Third, and the Tliiid in turn drives through the Second 
up into the First. For the first work is to believe, to have 
a good heart and confidence toward God. From this 
Sows the second good work, to praise God's Name, to con- 
fess His grace, to give all honor to Him alone. Thenfol,- 
lows the third, to worship by praying, hearing God's Word, 
thinking of and considering God's boiefits, and in addition 
chastising one's self, and keeping the body under. 

But when the evil ^irit perceives such faith, such 
honoring of God and sudi worship, he rages and stirs up 
persecution, attacks body, goods, honor and life, brings 
upon us sickness, poverty, shame and death, which God so 
permits and ordains. See, here begins the second work, 
or the second rest of the Third Commandment; by this Ecdui. 
faith is very greatly tried, even as gold in the fiie. CFot , ^ 
it is a great thing to retain a sure confidence in God, al- 4:1* 
though He sends us death, shame, sickness, poverty; and 
in this cruel form of wrath to regard TTjm as out all-gcadous 
Father|]|as must be done in this work of the Third Com- 
mandment. Here suffering contains faith, that it must 
call upon God's Name and praise it in such suffering, and 
so it conies through the Third Commandment into the 
Second again; and through that very calling on the Name 
of God and praise, faith grows, and becomes conscious of 
itself, and so strengthens itself, through the two works of 
the Third and of the Second Conmiandment. Thus 
faith goes out into the works and through the works comes 
to itself again; just as the sun goes forth lanto its setting Pl 10:6 
and comes again imto its rising. For this reason the 
Scriptures associate the day with peaceful living in works, 
the night with passive living in aidveraty, and faith lives 
and works, goes out and amies in, in boUi, as Christ says, 

John ix. John g^ 

XXV. This order of good works we pray in the Lord's Paranei 
Prayer. The first is this, that we say: "Our Father, Who J^^** 
art in heaven"; these axe the words of the first wtak of pnjw 


350 TreatlM on Good Works 

faith, which, according to the First Commandment, does 
not doubt that it has a gracious Father in heaven. The 
second: "Hallowed be Thy Name," in which faith asks 
that God's Name, praise and honor be glorified, and calls 
upon it in every ne%d, as the Second Commandment says. 
TTie third: "Thy kingdom come," in which we pray for 
the true Sabbath and rest, peaceful cessation of our works, 
that God's work alone be done in us, and so God rule in us 
as in His own kingdom, as He says, Luke xvii, "Behold, 
' God's kingdom is nowhere else eicept within you." The 
fourth petition is "Thy will be done"; in which we pray 
that we may keep and have the Seven Commandments of 
the Second Table, in which faith is exercised toward our 
ndghbor; just as in the first three it is exercised in works 
toward God alone. And these are the petitions in which 
stands the word "Thou, Thy, Thy, Thy," because th^ 
seek only what belongs to God; all the others say "our, us, 
our," etc; for in them we pray for our goods and blessed- 
ness. ^ 

L«t this, tb&i, suffice as a plain, hasty explanation of 
the First Table of Moses, pointing out to simple folk what 
are the highest of good works. 

* The Second Table follows. 

"Thou shalt honor thy father and thy 
' mother." 

From this Commandment we learn that after the ex- 
cellent works of the first three Conmiandments there are 
no better works than to obey and serve all those who are 
set over us as superiors. For this reason also disobe- 
dience is a greater sin than mimler, imchastity, theft and 
dishonesty, and all that these may include. For we can in 
no better way learn how to distinguish between greater and 
lesser sins tlian by noting the order of the Commandments of 
God, although there are distinctions also within the works 
of each Commandment. For who does not know that to 

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The Fouitii Conmuuidiiient 231 

curse is a greater sin than to be angry, to strike than to 
curse, to strike father and mother more than to strike any 
one else? Thus these seven Commandments teach us how 
we are to exerdse ourselves in good works toward men, and 
first of all toward our superiors. 

The first work is that we honor our own father and ob«dl- 
mother. And this honor conasts not only in respectful ^ "* 
demeanor, but in this: that we obey them, look up to, fumU* 
esteem and heed their words and example, accept what they 
say, keep silent and endure thdr treatment of us, so long ' 
as it is not contrary to the first three Commandments; 
in addition, when they need it, that we provide them with 
food, clothing and shelter. For not for nothing has He 
said: "Thou shalt honor them"; He does not say: 
"Thou ^lalt love them," although th^ also must be done. 
But honor is higher than mere love and includes a certain 
fear, which unites with love, and causes a man to fear 
offending them more than he fears the punishment 
Just as there is fear in the honor we pay a sanctuary, and 
yet we do not flee from it as from a punishment, but draw 
near to it all the more. Such a fear mingled with love is 
the true honor; the other fear without any love is that 
which we have toward things which we despise or flee from, 
as we fear the hangman or punishment. There is no 
honor in that, for it is a fear without all love, nay, fear 
that has with it hatred and enmity. Of this we have a 
proverb of St. Jerome: What we fear, that we also hate. 
With such a fear God does not wish to be feared or honored, 
nor to have us honor our parents; but with the first, which 
is mingled with love and confidence. 

n. This work appears easy, but few regard it aright. Dwpi*- 
For where the parents are truly pious and love their ^^ 
children not according to the fl^, but (as they ought) 
instruct and direct them by words and works to serve 
God according to the first three Commandments, there 
the child's own will is constantly broken, and it must 

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do, leave undone, and suffer what its nature would most 
gladly do otherwise; and thereby it finds occasion to des- 
|Hse its parents, to murmur against them, or to do worse 
things There love and fear depart, unless they have 
God's grace. In like manner, when they punish and chas- 
tise, as they ought (at times even unjustly, which, how- 
ever, does not harm the soul's salvation), our evil nature 
resents the correction. Beside all this, there are scmie so 
wicked that they are ashamed of their patents because 
of poverty, lowly birth, deformity or dishonor, and allow 
these things to influence them more than the hi^ Com- 
mandment of God, Who is above all things, and has with 
benevolent intent ^ven them such parents, to exercise 
and try them in His Commandment. But the matter 
becomes still worse when the child has children of its own; 
then love descends to them, and detracts very much from 
the love and honor toward the parents. 

But what is said and commanded of parents must also 
be imderstood of those who, when the parents are dead 
or absent, take their place, such as relatives, god-parents, 
' sponsors, temporal lords and qniitual fathers. For every 
lone must be ruled and be subject to other men. Where- 
fore we here see again how many good works are taught in 
this Commandment, since in it aU our life is made subject 
to other men. Hence it comes that obedience is ao highly 
praised and all virtue and good works are included in it. 

Lov* m. There is another dishonoring of parents, much 
^1^"* more dangerous and subtUe than this first, which adorns 
itself and passes for a real honor; that is, when a child has 
its own way, and the parents through natural love allow 
it. Here there is indeed mutual honor, here there is mutual 
love, and on all sides it is a precious thing, parents and 
child take mutual pleasure in one another. 

This plague is so common that instances of the first 
form of dishonoring' are very seldom seen. This is due 

' 1. 1; bj feu without lovs. 


The Fourth Commandment 253 

to the £act that the parents are blinded, and neither know 
nor honor God according to the first three Commandments; 
hence also they cannot see what the children lack, and how 
they ought to teach and train them. For this reason 
they train them for worldly honors, pleasure and posses- 
ions, that they may by all means please men and reach high 
positions: this the children like, and they obey very gladly 
without gainsaying. 

Thus God's Commandment secretly comes to naught 
while all seems good, and that is fulfilled which is written 
in the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, that the children are u. si-i - 
destroyed by their own parents, and they do like the king '*^',^j^'' 
Manasseh, who sacrificed his own son to the idol Moloch 
and burned him, 11. Kings xxi. What else is it but to 1 Eiiw 
sacrifice one's own child to the idol and to bum it, when "^ 
parents train their children more in the way of the world 
than in the way of God? let them go their way, and 
be burned up in workUy pleasure, love, enjoyment, posses- 
sions and honor, but let God's love and honor and the 
desire of eternal bles^ngs be quenched in them? 

O how perilous it is to be a father or a mother, where 
flesh and blood are supreme! For, truly, the knowledge 
and fulfilment of the first three and the last six Com- 
mandments depends altogether upon this Commandment; 
since parents are commanded to teach them to their 
children, as Psalm Ixzviii. says, "How strictly has He f*. tB:$ 
commanded our fathers, that they should make known 
God's Commandments to their children, that the genera- 
tion to come might know them and declare them to their 
children's children." This also is the reason why God 
inds us honor our parents, that is, to love them with fear; 
for that other love is without fear, therefore it is more 
dishonor than honor. 

Now see whether every one does not have good works 
mough to do, whether he be father or child. But we 
blind men leave this imtouched, and seek all sorts of 
other works which are not commanded. 

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254 TteatlBe on Good Works 

n* IV. Now where parents are foolish and train their 

1^^ children after the fashion of the world, the children are in 
Acu s:>9 Qo v^y to obey them; for God, according to the first three 
Conunandments, is to be niore highly regarded than the 
parents. But training after the fashion of the world I caU 
it, when they teach them to seek no more than pleasure, 
honor and possessions of this world or its power. 

To wear decent clothes and to seek an honest living is a 
necessity, and not siiL Yet the heart of a child must be 
taught to be sorry that this miserable earthly life cannot 
well be lived, or even begun, without the striving after 
more adornment and more possessions than are necessary 
for the protection of the body against cold and for nourish- 
ment. Thus the child must be taught to grieve that, 
without its own will, it must do the world's will and 
play the fool with the rest of men, and endure such evil for 
the sake of something better and to avoid something 
worse. So Queen Esther wore her royal crown, and yet 
Bath, said to God, Esther ziv, "Thou knowest, that the sign of 
Vataate '^Y ^^^ estate, which is upon my head, has never yet 
delighted me, and I abhor it as a menstruous r^, and 
never wear it when I am by myself, but when I must do it 
and go before the people." The heart that is so minded 
wears adornment without peril; for it weara and does not 
wear, dances and does not dance, Uves well and does not 
live well. And these are the secret souls, hidden brides 
of Christ, but they are rare; for it is hard not to delight 
in great adornment and parade. Thus St. Cecilia' wore 
golden clothes at the command of her parents, but within 
against her body she wore a garment of hair. 

Here some men say : "How then could I bring my children 
into society, and marry them honorably? I roust make 
some display." Tell me, are not these the words of a heart 
which despairs of God, and trusts more on its own provid- 
ing than on God's care? Whereas St. Peter teaches and 

> The pUrao Mint tt mnk, of lAtac UIc •od muti'idcai Ottk that b definite 

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The Foordi Commondmont 355 

says, I. Peter v, "Cast all your care upon Him, and be 1 pm. 5:7 
certain that He cares for you." It is a sign that they have 
never yet thanked God for their children, have never 
yet ligjitly prayed for them, have never yet conunended 
them to Him; otherwise they would know and have ex- 
perienced that they ought to ask God also for the marriage 
dower of their children, and await it frtnn Him. There- 
fore also He permits them to go their way, with cares and 
worries, and yet succeed poorly. 

V. Thus it is true, as men say, that parents, although Tniniiic 
they had nothing else to do, could attain salvation by train- J^IJ^J" 
ing their own children; if they rightly train them to God's Wwk 
service, they will indeed have both hands full of good 
works to do. For what else are here the htmgry, thirsty, ><■«. 
naked, imprisoned, sick, strangers, than the souls of jfour ''^ 
own children? with whom God makes of your house a 
hospital, and sets you over them as chief nurse, to wait 
on them, to give them good words and works as meat and 
drink, that they may learn to trust, believe and fear God, 
and to place their hope on Him, to honor His Name, not to 
swear nor curse, to mortify themselves by praying, fasting, 
watching, working, to attend worship and to hear God's 
Word, and to keep the Sabbath, that they may leam to 
despise temporal things, to bear misfortune calmly, and not 
to fear death nor to love this life. 

See, what great lessons are these, how many good works 
you have before you in your home, with your child, that 
needs all these things like a hungry, thirsty, naked, poor, 
imprisoned, sick soul. what a blessed marriage and home 
were that where such parents were to be found I Truly 
it would be a real Church, a chosen cloister, yea, a paradise. 
Of such says Psalm cxzviii: "Blessed are they that fear f«- 
God, and walk in His Commandments; thou ^alt eat of "^■*~* 
the labor of thine hands; therefore thou shalt be happy, — 
and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruit- 
ful vine in thine house, and thy children shall be as the 

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356 Treatise on Good Worlm 

young sdons of laden olive trees about thy table. Behold, 
thus shall the man be blessed, that feareth the Lord," 
etc. Where are such parents? Where are th^ that 
ask after good works? Here none wishes to come. Why? 
God has commanded it; the devil, flesh and blood pull 
away from it; it makes no show, therefore it coimts for 
nothing. Here this husband runs to St. James, that wife 
vows a pilgrimage to Our Lady; no one vows that he will 
properly govern and teach himself and his child to the 
honor of God; he leaves behind those whom God has com- 
manded him to keep in body and soul, and would serve 
God in some other place, which has not been commanded 
him. Such perversity no bishop forbids, no preacher cor- 
rects; nay, for covetousness* sake th^ confirm it and daily 
only invent more pilgrimages, elevations of saints,' in- 
dulgence-fairs. God have pity on such blindness. 

v«tfMt VI. On the other hand, parents camiot earn eternal 

^ra^ puiushment in any way more ea^y than by neglecting 

cauM their own children in their own home, and not teaching 

S^J^ them the things which have been spoken of above. Of 

tfon what he^ is it, that they kill themselves with fasting, 

praying, making pilgrimages, and do all manner of good 

works? God will, after all, not ask them about these 

things at their death and in the day of judgment, but will 

require of them the children whom He entrusted to them. 

Luk« This is shown by that word of Christ, Luke zxiii, "Ye 

*'■" '■ daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves 

and for your children. The days are coining, in which 

they shall say; Blessed are the wombs that never bare, 

and the paps which never gave suck." Why shall they 

lament, except because all their condemnation comes 

from their own children? If they had not had children, 

perhaps they might have been saved. Truly, these 

words ou^t to open the eyes of parents, that they may have 

' CmnnlBitfaMM^ ilriai ft dead nun (be rufc of • aaJnt iriw nutr b« or iluUt b« 

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Tho Fouitii Commandmeiit 357 

regard to the souls of their children, so that the poor 
children be oot deceived by their false, fleshly love, as if 
they had rightly honored their parents when they are not 
angry with them, or are obedient in worldly matters, by 
wbidi their self-will is strengthened; although the Com- 
mandment places the parents in honor for the very purpose 
that the self-will of the children may be broken, and that 
the children may become humble and meek. 

Just as it has been said of the other Co mm and m ents, 
that they are to be fulfilled in the chief work,> so here too 
let no one suppose that the training and teaching of his, 
children is sufficient of itself, except it be done in confidence 
of divine favor, so that a man doubt not that he is well- 
plea^g to God in bis works, and that he let such works be 
nothing else than an exhortation and ezerdse of his faith, 
that he trust God and look to Him for blessings and a 
gracious will; without which faith no work lives, or is good 
and acceptable; for many heathen have trained theii 
children beautifully, but it is all lost, because of their unbe- 

Vn. The second work of this Commandment is to honor Ob«dl- 
and obey the ^iritual mother, the holy Christian Church, ^^ 
the ^iritual power, so that we conform to what ^e com- chuck 
mands, forbids, a^^ints, orders, binds and looses, and 
honor, fear and love the spiritual authority as we honor, 
love and fear our natural parents, and yield to it in all 
things which are not contrary to the first three Command- 

Now with regard to this work, things are almost worse Tba ii*- 
than with regard to the first. The spiritual authority p^T* 
should punish sin with the ban and with laws, and con- of Um 
strain ite spiritual children to be good, in order that they '"'^ 
migjit have reason to do this work and to exercise them- 
selves in obeying and honoring it. Such zeal one does not 


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258 Treatise on Good Worin 

see now; they act toward their subjects like the mothers 
who forsake their children and run after their lovers, as 

t.i:s Hosea ii. says; they do not preach, they do not teach, 
they do not Idnder, they do not punish, and there is no ^ir- 
itual government at all left in Christendom. 

What can I say of this work? A few fast-days and 
feast-days are left, and these had better be done away 
with. But no one gives this a thought, and there is noth- 
ing left except the ban for debt, and this should not be. 
But spiritual authority should look to it, that adultery, 
unchastity, usury, ^uttony, worldly show, excessive 
adornment, and such like open sin and shame might be 
most severely punished and corrected; and they should 
properly manage the endowments, monastic bouses, 
parishes and schools, and earnestly miuntain worship in 
them, provide for the young people, boys and girls, in 
schools and cloisters, with learned, pious men as teachers, 
that they might all be well trained, and so the older people 
give a good example and Christendom be filled and adorned 
with fine young people. So St. Paul teaches his disdple 

''''"* Titus, that he should rightly instruct and govern all 
classes, young and old, men and women. But now he 
goes to school wbo wishes; he is taught who governs and 
teaches himself; nay, it has, alas! come to such a pass that 
the places where good should be taught have become 
schools of knavery, and no one at all takes thought for the 
wild youth. 

• Vni. If the above order prevailed, one could say how 

'^^^ honor and obedience should be given to the spiritual 

ui« authority. But now the case is like that of the natural 

""^ parents who let their children do as they please; at present 

the spiritual authority threatens, (Uspaises, takes money, 

and pardons more than it has power to pardon. I will 

here refrain from saying more; we see more of it than is 

good; greed holds the reins, and just what should be for- 

bidden is taught; and it is clearly seen that the Sfuritnal 

. ..„Co(>^lc 

The Fonr^ Commandment 359 

estate is in all things more worldly than the worldly 
estate itself. Meanwhile Christendom must be ruined, 
and this Commandment perish. 

If there were a bishop who would zealously provide for 
all these classes, supervise, make vitiations and be faith- 
ful as he ought, truly, one dty would be too much for him. 
For in the time of the Apostles, when Christendom was at 
its best estate, each dty had a bishop, although the small- 
est part of the inhabitants were Christians. How may 
thii^ go when one bishop wants to have so much, another 
so much, this one the whole world, that one the fourth of 

It is time that we pray God for mercy. Of spiritual 
power we have much; but of spiritual government noth- 
ing or little. Meanwhile may he help who can, that 
endowments, monastic houses, parishes and schools be 
well established and managed; and it would also be one of 
the works of the spiritual authority that it lessen the 
number of endowments, monastic houses and schools, 
where they cannot be cared for. It is much better that 
there be no monastic house or endowment than that there 
be evil government in them, whereby God is the more 
provoked to anger.^ 

IX. Since, then, the authorities so entirely neglect ai»h« 
their work, and are perverted, it must assuredly follow q^^^ 
that they misuse their power, and undertake other and evil 
works, just as parents do when they give some command 
contrary to God. Here we must be wise; for the Apostie 1 Tim. 
has said, that those times shall be perilous in which such , j^ ' 
authorities shall rule. For it seems as if we resisted their yi fi- 
power if we do not do and leave undone all that they pre- 
scribe. Therefore we must take hold of the first three 
Commandments and the First Table, and be certain that 

K4.. VI, m) wnd in tbe Addtc*« to U 
Obld,, 43». 

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36o Treatise on Good Works 

no man, neither bishop, nor pope, nor angel, may command 
or detennine anything that is contrary to or hinders these 
three Comman(hnents, or does not help them; and if they 
attempt such things, it is not valid and amounts to nothing; 
and we also sin if we follow and obey, or even tolerate such 

From this it is easy to imderstand that the commands 
of fasting do not include the sick, the pregnant women, 
or those who for other reasons cannot fast without in- 
jury. And, to rise higher, in our time nothing comes from 
Rome but a fair of ^iritual wares, which are tqienly and 
shamelessly bought and sold, indtUgences, parishes, monastic 
houses, bishoprics, provostships, benefices, and every thing 
that has ever beai foundf»l to God's service far and 
wide ; whereby not only is all money and wealth of the worid 
drawn and driven to Rome (for this would be the smallest 
harm), but the parishes, bishoprics and prelacies are torn 
to pieces, deserted, laid waste, and so the people are ne- 
{j^ected, God's Wonl and God's Name and honor come to 
naught, and faith is destroyed, so that at last such insti- 
tutions and offiras fall into the hands not only of unlearned 
and unfit men, but the greater part into the hands of the 
Romans, the greatest villains in the world. Thus what 
has been founded for God's service, for the instruction, 
government and improvement of the people, must now 
serve the stable-boys, mtde-drivers, yea, not to use plainer 
language, Roman whores and knaves; yet we have no more 
thanks than that they mock us for it as fools. 

Tb« X. If then such unbearable abuses are all carried on 

^^ in the Name of God and St. Peter, just as if God's Name 

AbvM* and the spiritual power were instituted to blaspheme 

chw«b God's honor, to destroy Christendom, body and soul: 

we are indeed in duty bound to resist in a proper way as 

much as we can. And here we must do like pious children 

whose parents have become insane, and first see by what 

right that which has been founded for God's service in our 


The Fourth Comnumdment 361 

lands, or has been ordained to provide for our children, 
must be allowed to do its work in Rome, and to lapse here, 
where it ought to serve. How can we be so foolishP 

Since then bishops and spiritual prelates stand idle 
in this matter, offer no opposition or are afraid, and thus 
allow Christendom to perish, it is our duty first of all 
humbly to call upon God for help to prevent this thing, ; 
then to put our hand to work to the same end, send the 
courtesans' and those who bear letters from Rome about 
their business, in a reasonable, gentle way inform them that, 
if they wish to care for their parishes properly, they shall 
live in them and improve the people by preadiing or by good 
example; or if not, and they do live in Rome or elsewhere, 
lay waste and debauch the churches, then let the [>ope 
feed them, whom they serve. It is not fitting that we 
support the pope's servants, his people, yes, his knaves 
and whores, to the destruction and injury of our souls. 

Lol these are the true Turks, whom the kings, princes 
and the nobility ought to attack first: not seeking thereby 
their own benefit, but only the improvement of Christen- 
dom, and the prevention of the blasphemy and disgradng 
of the divine Name ; and so to deal with the clergy as with 
a father who has lost his sense and wits; who, if one did 
not restrun him and resist him (although with all humility 
and honor), might destroy child, heir and everybody. 
Thus we are to honor Roman authority as our highest 
father; and yet, since they have gone mad and lost their 
senses, not allow them to do what they attempt, lest 
Christendom be destrc^ed thereby. 

XI. Some think, this should be referred to a General ^* 
Council. To this I say: No! For we have had many i 

councils in which this has been proposed, namely, at Con- ^?*"' 
stance, Basel and the last Roman Council;* but nothing has coumOi 

' A aame for the dependnti of the pv*l ooort U Rcaw. 
'At Cocwfnce, 1414-1418; »t Bid. 1431-1443; uftone, tbtLatoan CoandU, 

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26a Treatise oa Good Works 

been accomplished, and things have grown ever worse. 
Moreover, such councils axe entirely useless, since Roman 
wisdom has contrived the device that the kings and 
princes must beforehand take an oath to let the Romans 
remain what they are and keq) what they have, and so has 
put up a bar to ward off all refonnation, to retain protec- 
tion and liberty for all their knavery, although this oath is 
demanded, forced and taken contrary to God and the law, 
and by it the doors are locked against the Holy Spirit, 
Who should rule the councils.' But this would be the 
best, and also the only remedy remaining, if kings, princes, 
nobility, cities and communities themselves began and 
opened a way for refonnation, so that the bishops and 
clergy, who now are afraid, would have reason to follow. 
For here nothing else shall and must be considered except 
God's first three Commandments, against which neither 
Rome, nor heaven nor earth can command or forbid 
anything. And the ban or threatening with which they 
tbkk they can prevent this, amounts to nothing; just as it 
amounts to nothing if an insane father severely threatens 
the son who restrains him or locks him up.* 

obadi- XII. The third work of this Commandment is to obey 
JjJJ^^. the temporal authority, as Paul teaches, Romans nii, 
powlAn- and Titus iii, and St. Peter, I. Peter ii: "Submit your- 
""*"'" selves to the king as supreme, and to the princes as his am- 
bassadors, and to all the ordinances of the worldly power." 
■ ^^ But it is the work of the temporal power to protect its sub- 
jects, and to punish thievery, robbery, and adultery, as St. 
Rom. 13:4 Paul says, Romans xiii: "It beareth not the sword in 
vain; it serves God with it, to the terror of evil doers, and 
to the protection of the good." 

Here men sin in two ways. First, if they lie to the 
government, deceive it, and are disloj^, neither obey nor 

* Or, "Wbo b taid to rale the anmdli." 

'TU» [aosTMs at leform i> further eUbonta) In the Addreii to tb« 
Christian Nobility. 


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Xlie FoorA Commandment 263 

do as it has ordered and commanded, whether witii their 
bodies or their possessions. For even if the government 
does injustice, as the King of Babylon did to the people of ;«■ 
Israel, yet God would have it obeyed, without treachery g'^'"' 
and deception. Secondly, when mea speak evil of the a'.n t. 
government and curse it, and when a man cannot revenge 
himself and abuses the government with grumbling and 
evil words, pubhcly or secretly. 

In all this we are to regard that which St. Peter bids 1 Pet. 
us r^ard, namely, that its power, whether it do right or '''" ' 
wrong, cannot harm the soul, but only the body and prop- 
erty; unless indeed it should try openly to mmpel us to do 
wrong against God or men; as in former days when the 
' magistrates were not yet Christians, and as the Turk is 
now said to do. For to suffer wrong destroys no ongls 
soul, nay, it improves. the^soiU^ although it inflicts loss 
upon the body and property; but to do wroi^, that 
destroys the soul, although it ^ould gain all the world's 

Xm. This also is the reason why there is not such great why 
danger in the temporal power as la the spiritual, when I^J^ 
it does wrong. For the temporal power can do no harm, Dtr« not, 
ance it has nothing to do with preaching and faith and the ^i^^ 
first three Commandments. But the spiritual power does A«niw- 
harm not only when it does wrong, but also when it ne- j^ ^''' 
greets its duty and buses itself with other things, even if ^n*i 
they were better than the very best works of the temporal 
power. Therefore, we must resist it when it does not do 
right, and not resist the temporal power although it does 
wrong. For the poor people believe and do as they see 
the spiritual power beheving and doing; if they are not 
set an example and are not taught, then they also believe 
nothing and do nothing; since this power is instituted for 
DO other reason than to lead the people in faith to God. 
All this is not found in the tenqwral power; for it may do 
and leave undone what it will, my faith to God still goes 

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3^4 TreatiM on Good Works 

its way and works its works, because I need not believe 
what it believes. 

Therefore, also, the temporal power is a very small thing 
in God's sight, and far too slightly regarded by Him, that 
for its sake, whether it do right or wrong, we diould resist, 
become disobedient and quarrel. On the other hand, the 
^iritual power is an exceeding great blessing, and far too 
precious in His eyes, that the very least of Christians 
should endure and keep silent, if it departs a hair's breadth 
from its own duty, not to say when it does the very op- 
posite of its duty, as we now see it do every day. 

The XIV. In this power also there is much abuse. First, 

l^l^i^ when it follows the flatterers, which is a common and espe- 

■1 An- dally harmful plague of this power, against which no one 

*"** can sufficiently guard and protect himself. Here it is led 

by the nose, and oppresses the common people, becomes 

a government of the like of which a heathen says: "The 

^ider-webs catch the small flies, but the mill-stones roll 

through." So the taws, ordinances and government of one 

and the same authority hold the small men, and the great 

are free; and where the prince is not himself so wise that 

he needs nobody's advice, or has such a standing that 

they fear him, there will and must be (unless God should 

do a special wonder) a childish government 

For this reason God has considered evil, xmfit rulers 

In. 3:1 the greatest of plagues, as He threatens, Isaiah iii, "I will 

take away from them every man of valor, and will ^ve 

children to be their princes and babes to rule over them." 

E«±. Four plagues God has named in Scripture, Ezekiel xiv. 

• Sul? ' "^^ ^^ *°^ slightest, which also David chose, is pesti- 

14:13 f. lence, the second is famine, the third is war, the fourth is 

all manner of evil beasts, such as lions, wolves, serpents, 

dragons; these are the wicked rulers. For where these are, 

the land is destroyed, not only in body and property, as 

in the others, but also in honor, discipline, virtue and the 

soul's salvation. For pestilence and famine make people 

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The Fonrtii Comnumdnieiit 265 

good and rich; but war and wicked rulers bring to naught 
everything that has to do with temporal and eternal 

XV. A prince must also be very wise and not at all i 
times undertake to enforce his own will, although he may j^*^, 
have the authority and the very best cause. For it is a Bi«rdM 
far nobler virtue to ^dure wrong to one's authority than ^^itr 
to risk property and person, if it is advantageous to the 
subjects; since worldly rights attach only to temporal goods. 

Hence, it is a very foolish saying: I have a right to it, 
therefore I will take it by storm and keep it, althou^ 
all sorts of misfortune may come to others th^eby. So we 
lead of the Emperor Octavianus,* that he did not wish to 
make war, however just his cause might be, unless there 
were sure indications of greats benefit than harm, or at 
least that the harm would not be intolerable, and said: 
" War is like fishing with a golden net; the Ioss_ risked is al- 
ways greats than the catch can be." For he who guides 
a wagon must walk far otherwise than if he were walking 
alone; when alone he may walk, jump, and do as he will; 
but when he drives, he must so guide and adapt himself 
that the wagon and horses can f(^w him, and regard that 
more than his own will. So also a prince leads a miiltltude 
with him and must not walk and act as he wills, but as the 
multitude can, considering their need and advantage more 
than his will and pleasure. For whm a prince rules alter 
his own mad will and follows his own opinion, he is like a 
mad driver, who rushes straight ahead with horse and 
wagon, through bushes, thorns, ditches, water, up hill 
and down dale, regardless of roads and bridges; he will not 
drive long, all will go to smash. 

Therefore it would be most profitable for rulers, that 
they read, or have read to them, from youth on, the histo- 
ries, both in sacred and in profane books, in which they 

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366 Treatise on Good Works 

would find more examples and skill in ruling than in all 

the books of law; as we read that the kings of Persia did, 

tath. Esther vi. For examples and histories benefit and teach 

' ' more than the laws and statutes: there actual e3^>erieDce 

teaches, here untried and uncertain words. 

Good XVI. JIhiee special, distinct works all rulers mij^t do 

1^ in our times, particularly in our lands. First, to make 
Soiari an end of the horrible gluttony and drunkenness, not only 
E«a- because of the excess, but also because of its expense. For 
Kefonu: through seasonings and spices and the like, without which 
GlntMar men could well live, no little loss of temporal wealth has 
come and daOy is cxmiing upon our lands. To prevent 
these two great evils would truly give the temporal power 
enou^ to do, for the inroads they have made are wide and 
deep. And how could those in power serve God better 
and thereby also improve their own land? 
LBxnrr Secondly, to forbid the excessive cost of clothing, 
whereby so much wealth is wasted, and yet only the world 
and the flesh are served ; it is fearful to think that such abuse 
is to be found among the people who have been pledged, 
baptised and consecrated to Christ, the Crucified, and who 
should bear the Cross after Him and prepare for the life 
to ccnne by dying daily. If some men erred through ig- 
norance, it might be borne; but that it is practised so 
freely, without punishment, without shame, without 
hindrance, nay, that praise and fame are sought thereby, 
Rant- this is indeed an unchristian thing. Thirdly, to drive out 
**"■•' the usurious buying of rent-charges,' which in the whole 

t "The pnrchaaeof fc rent-cbarg* (rent, censns. ZIn*) wu om at 
the nutbodi of Investiag inoncy Enquentlj icsorUd to during the Itter middb 
■gc*. From the tiuufer bom one pcnon to mother o{ the right to teodve ■ rent 
•liouly due the itep wu hot a ibott ooe to tlte creattoo of an thogethec new 
icat-chuge, lor the wiiiM i puipoae o{ nhdng moueT h; the wle of IL . . . 
The practice would Mcm to hare arisen ^uitaoeously. and to hav« been by no 
meaniamere evasoa of the prohibition of utary." Dictionary of Po- 
litical Economj, ed. byR. H. Imous Paloxavi, tdL U. Ct. Asbut, 
Economic Hlitory. vol. I, pt. ii, JSW, T4. TJ- For a fuller d~ 
oi the lubject by Lothv, lee the Strmon vom Wnchet (W 
Ed.. VI,si-6o). 

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The Fourtti Commandment 267 

world ruins, consumes and troubles all lands, peoples and 
cities through its cunning form, by which it appears not 
to be usuiy, while in truth it is worse than usury, because 
men are not on their guard against it as against open 
usury. See, these are the three Jews, as men say, who 
suck the whole world dry. Here princes ought not to 
sleep, nor be lazy, if they would give a good account of 
their office to God. 

XVII. Here too ought to be mentioned the knavery Hzm- 
which is practised by officiates' and other episa^>al ^^, 
and spiritual officers, who ban, load, himt and drive the chorck 
poor people with great burdens, as loag as a penny remains. 
This ought to be prevented by the temporal sword, ^nce 
there is no other help or remedy. 

O, would God in heaven, that some tim£ a govemmrat vie* 
might be established that would do away with the public 
bawdy-houses, as was done among the people of Israeli 
It is indeed an unchristian sight, that public houses of ^ 
are maintained among Christians, a thing formerly alto- 
gether unheard of. It should be a rule that boys and girls 
should be married early and such vice be prevented. Such 
a riile and custom ou^t to be sought for by both the spirit- 
ual and the temporal power. If it was possible among the 
Jews, why should it not also be possible among Christians? 
Nay, if it is possible in villages, towns and some cities, as 
we all see, why should it not be possible everywhere? 

But the trouble is, there is no real government in the 
world. No one wants to work, therefore the mechanics 
must give their workmen holiday: then they are free 
and no one can tame them. But if there were a rule that 
they must do as they are bid, and no one would give them 
work in other places, this evil would to a large extent be 
mended. God help usi I fear that here the wish is foi 
greater than the hope; but this does not excuse us. 

■ Sea note above, p. tto. 

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l68 Treatise on Good Worka 

Now see, here only a few works of m^^trates aie indi- 
cated, but th^ are so good and so many, that th^ have 
superabundant good works to do every hour and couJd con- 
stantly serve God. But these worka, like the others, 
should also be done in faith, yea, be an exercise of faith, 
so that no one expect to please God by the works, but by 
confident trust in His favor do such works only to the 
h(Hior and praise of his gracious God, thereby to serve 
and benefit his neighbor. 

Ob*^ XVm. The fourth work of this Commandment is obe- 

^^^^ dience of servants and workmen toward their lords and 

ladies, masters and niistresses. Of this St. Paul says, 

Titsv^sTitus ii: "Thou shalt exhort servants that they highly 

''^°^*'* honor thdr masters, be obedient, do what pleases them, 

not cheating them nor opposing them"; for this reason also: 

because they thereby bring the doctrine of Christ and our 

faith into good repute, that the heathen cannot complain 

I Pet of us and be offended. St. Peter also says: "Savants, be 

'■'* '■ subject to your masters, for the fear of God, not only to 

the good and gentle, but also to the froward and harsh. 

For this is acceptable with God, if a man suffers harshness, 

being innocent." 

Now there is the greatest complaint in the worid about 
servants and working men, that they are disobedient, un- 
faithful, unmannerly, and over-reaching; this is a pl^ue 
sent of God. And truly, this is the one work of servants 
whereby they may be saved; truly they need not make pU- 
grimages or do this thing or the other; they have enough 
to do if their heart is only set on this, that they gladly do 
Eph. «:s and leave undone what they know pleases their masters 
'^ '"*' and mistresses, and all this in a simple faith; not that they 
would by their works gain much merit, but that they do it 
all in the confidence of divine favor (in which all merits 
are to be found), purely for nothing, out of the love and 
good-will toward God which grows out of such confidence. 
And all such works th^ shotdd think M as an < 

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The Fourth Conmuuidineiit 269 

and exhortation ever to stiengtbea their futh and confi- 
dence more and more. For, as has now been frequently 
said, this faith makes all works good, yea, it must do them 
and be the master-workman. 

XIX. On the other hand, the masters and mistresses DntiMtf 
should not rule their servants, maids and workingmen 
rou^y, not look to all things too closely, occasionally 
overlook something, and for peace' sake make allowances. 
For it is not possible that everything be done perfectly at 
all times among any class of men, as long as we live on eartii 
in imperfection. Of this St. Paul says, Cotossians iv, 
"Masters, do unto your servants that which is just and oo. 4:1 
equal, knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." 
Therefore as the masters do not wish God to deal too 
sharply with them, but that many things be overlooked 
through grace, they also should be so much the more 
gentle toward their servants, and overlook some thin^, 
and yet have a care that the servants do right and leani 
to fear God. 

But see now, what good works a householder and a mis- 
tress can do, how finely God offers us all good works so 
near at hand, so manifold, so continuously, that we have 
no need of asking after good works, and mi^t well forget 
the other showy, far-off, invented woi^ of men, such as 
making pilgrimages, building churches, seeking indulgence, 
and the like. 

Here I ought naturally also to say how a wife ought Bubni 
to be obedient, subject to her husband as to her superior, '"'"'• 
give way to him, keep dlent and gjve up to him, where it 
is a matter not contrary to God's commands. On the 
other hand, the husband should love his wife, overlook a 
little, and not deal strictly with her, of which matter ' ^■ 
SL Peter and St. Paul have said much. But this has its e^ 
place in the further explanation of the Ten Command- f^"'- 
ments, and is easily inferred from these passages. y,aB. 

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270 Treatise ob Good Woria 

Sva- XX. But all that has been said of these works is in- 
■"^ eluded in these two, obedience and cwisiderateness.' 
Obedience is the duty of subjects, considerateness that 
of masters, that they take care to rule their subjects well, 
deal kindly with them, and do everything whereby they 
may benefit and help them. That is their way to heaven, 
and these are the best works they can do on earth; with 
these they are more acceptable to God than if without 
these they did nothing but miracles. So says St. Paul, 

Rom. i3:S Romans zii: "He that ruleth, let him do it with diligence"; 
as who should say: "Let him not allow himself to be led 
astray by what other people or classes of people do; let 
him not look to this work or to that, whether it be splendid 
or obscure ; but let him look to his own position, and think 
only how he may benefit those who are subject to him; by 
this let him stand, nor let himself be torn from it, althoi^ 
heaven stood open before him, nor be driven from it, al- 
though hell were chasing him. This is the r^t road that 
leads him to heaven." 

Oh, if a man were so to regard himself and his position, 
and attended to its duties ak>ne, how rich in good works 
would be be in a short time, so quietly and secretly that 
no one would notice it except God alone ! But now we let 
all thiH go, and one runs to the Carthusians,' another to this 
place, a third to that, just as if good works and God's 
Commandments had been thrown into onners and bidden; 
Pio*. although it is written in Proverbs i, that divine wisdom 
i:m(. ^g{}j Q^t ),gf commandments publicly in the streets, in 
the midst of the people and in the gates of the dties; 
which means that they are present in profuaon in all places, 
in all stations of life and at all times, and we do not see 

J. them, but in our bUndness look for them elsewhere. This 

t4:is-^ Christ declared, Matthew ixiv: "If they shall say unto 

■Soigflltiikelt, Luther'* tnuluioa of the Vulsate loUcltude 
fa Rom. 11:8, where our Eogliih VerrioD readi "diUgcoce." Tbe word u Luther 
OKI it faidudn the tm Ueu of Garefulnea utd eooMenuaai 

' A moM Mrlct monwhc order; the phtue here b eqvivtient to "bocooMs « 

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The FDurtti Commandment 371 

you: Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not. If they 
shall say: Behold, He is in the desert, go not forth; behold. 
He is in the secret chambers, believe it not; they are false 
prophets and false Christs." 

XXI. Again, obedience is the duty of subjects, that they 
diiect all their diligence and effort to do and to leave im- 
done what their over-lords desire of them, that they do not 
allow themselves to be torn or driven from this, whatever 
another do. Let no man think that he hves well or does 
good works, whether it be prayer or fasting, or by what- 
ever name it may be called, if he does not earnestly and 
diligently exercise himself in this. 

But if it should happen, as it often does, that the tem- The 
poral power and authorities, as they are called, should ob«di. 
urge a subject to do contrary to the Commandments of •&«• 
God, or hinder him from doing them, there obedience ends, 
and that duty is annulled. Here a man must say as St. 
Peter says to the rulers of the Jews: "We ought to obey Acu s-t 
God rather than men." He did not say: "We must not 
obey men"; for that would be wrong; but he said: "God 
rather than men." Thus, if a prince desired to go to war, 
and his cause was manifestly unrighteous, we should not 
follow nor help him at all; since God has commanded that 
we shall not kill our neighbor, nor do him injustice. Like- 
wise, if he bade us bear false witness, steal, lie or decnve 
and the like. Here we ought rather give up goods, honor, 
body, and life, that God's Commandments may stand. 

The four preceding Conmiandments have their works Th« 
in the understanding, that is, they take a man captive, ^^. 
rule him and make him subject, so that he rule not himself, m«nd- 
approve not himself, think not h^;hly of himself; but in '°*'* 
humility know himself and allow hiioself to be led, that 
pride be prevented. The following Commandments deal 
with the passions and lust of men, that these also be killed. 


273 Treatise od Good WoAs 

Tba I. The passions of anger and revenge, of which the 

SS2t fi**^ Commandment says, "Thou shalt not kill." This 
MM Commandment has one work, which however includes 
many and dispels many vices, and is called meekness.* 
PalM Now this is of two kinds. The one has a beautiful splendor, 
^''' and there is nothing back of it. This we practice toward 
our friends and those who do us good and give us pleasure 
with goods, honor and favor, or who do not offend us with 
words nor with deeds. Such meekness irrational Animal 
have, lions and snakes, Jews, Turks, knaves, murderers, 
bad women. These are all content and gentle when men 
do what they want, or let them alone; and yet there are 
not a few who, deceived by such worthless meekness, cover 
over their anger and excuse it, saying: "I would indeed 
not be angry, if I were left alone." Certainly, my good 
man, so the evil ^nrit also would be meek if he had Ms own 
way. Dissatisfaction and resentment overwhelm you in 
order that they may show you how full of anger and wicked- 
ness you are, that you may be admonished to strive after 
meekness and to drive out anger. 
TnM The second form of meekness is good throu^ and 
JJ^' through, that which is shown toward opponents and ene- 
mies, does them no harm, does not revenge itself, does not 
curse nor revile, does not speak evil of them, does not 
meditate evil against them, altbou^ they had taken away 
goods, honor, life, friends and everything. Nay, where it 
is pos^ble, it returns good for evil, speaks well of them, 
thinks well of them, prays for them. Of this Christ says, 
u>tt Matthew v: "Do good to them that desfutefully use you. 
"^ Pray for them that persecute you and revile you." And 
Rom. Paul, Romans zii: "Bless them which curse you, and by no 
11:14 [■ means curse them, bat do good to them." 

XI. Behold how ttus precious, excellent work has been 
lost among Christians, so that nothing now everywhere 
prevails except strife, war, quarreling, anger, hatred, envy, 



Hie Flftti Conmiindinimt 273 

back-biting, curang, slandering, injuring, vengeance, and 
all manner of ai^iy works and words; and yet, with all tliis, 
we have our many holidays, hear masses, say our prayers, 
establish churches, and more such spiritual finery, which 
God has not commanded. We shine resplendently and 
excessively, as if we were the moat holy Christians there 
ever were. And so because of these mirrors and masks we 
allow God's Commandment to go to complete ruin, and no 
one considers or examines himself, how near or how far 
he be from meekness and the fulfilment of this Command- 
ment; although God has said, that not he who does such J**" 
works, but he who kee ps ffis Conunand T""'*°, a^flj g'tM- ji;,,;^ 
into e ternal life. 

How, since no one lives on earth upon whom God does BnMdM 
not bestow an enemy and opponent as a proof of his own ^^ ,^ 
anger and wickedness, that is, one who afflicts him in oood 
goods, honor, body or friends, and thereby tries whether 
anger is still present, whether he can be well-disposed 
toward his enemy, speak wdl of him, do good to him, 
and not intend any evil against him; let him <»me for- 
ward who asks what he shall do that he may do good 
works, please God and be saved. Let him set his enemy be- 
fore him, keep him constantly before the eyes of his heart, 
as an exercise whereby he may curb his sforit and train 
his heart to think kindly of his enemy, wish him well, care 
for him and pray for him; and then, when opportunity 
offers, speak well of him and do good to him. Let him who 
will, try this and if he find not enough to do all his life long, 
he may convict me of lying, and say that my contention 
was wrong. But if this is what God desires, and if He will 
be paid in no other coin, of what avail is it, that we busy 
ourselves with other great works which are not commanded, 
and neglect this? Therefore God says, Matthew v, "I uut 
say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his naghbor, ^''* 
{3 in danger of the judgment; but whosoever shall say to 
his brother. Thou fool (that is, all manner of invective, 
curing, reviling, standeiing), he sTmll be in danger of evef* 


274 Treatise on Good Works 

lasting fire." What remains then for the outward act, 
striking, wounding, killing, injuring, etc., if the thoughts and 
words of anger are so severely condemned? 

m. But where there is true meekness, there the heart 
is pained at every evil which happens to one's enemy. 
And these are the true children and heirs of God and 
brethren of Christ, Whose heart was so puned for us all 
wh^i He died on the holy Cross. Even so we see a pious 
judge passing sentence upon the criminal with sorrow, and 
regretting the death which the law imposes. Here the act 
seems to be one of anger and harshness. So thoroughly 
good is meekness that even in such works of anger it remains, 
nay, it torments the heart most sorely when it must be 
angry and severe. 
Tke But here we must watch, that we be not medt ccmtiary 

^^^.*' to God's honor and Commandment. For it is written of 
■M* Moses that he was the very mediest man on earth, and yet. 
Sir. 45:4 when the Jews had worshiped the golden calf and provoked 
El 3*:iS God to anger, he put many of them to death, and thereby 
made atonement before God. Likewise it is not fitting 
that the ma^trates should be idle and allow wi to have 
sway, and that we say nothing. My own possessions, my 
honor, my injury, I must not regard, nor grow angry be- 
cause of them; but God's honor and Commandment we 
must protect, and injury or injustice to our ndghbor we 
must prevent, the magistrates with the sword, the rest of 
us with reproof and rebuke, yet always with pity for those 
who have merited the punishment. 

This high, noble, sweet work can eaaly be learned, if 
we perform it in faith, and as an exercise of faith. For if 
faith does not doubt the favor of God nor question that 
God is gracious, it will become quite easy for a man to be 
gracious and favorable to his neighbor, however much he 
may have siimed; for we have ^nned much more against 
God. Behold, a short Commandment this, but it i»esents 
a long, mighty exercise of good worlu and ot faith. 


The Sxth Comnmndmont 27s 

Thou shalt not commit adultery. nw 


In this C o"fTn ji.T>HTn pn t too a good work is commanded, ^"" 
which includes much and drives away much vice; it is mant: 
called purity, or chastity, of which much is written and ^^ 
pieached, and it is well known to every one, only that it is mtttt 
not as carefully observed and practised as other works 
which are not commanded. So ready are we to do what is 
not onmnanded and to leave undone what b commanded. 
We see that the world is full of shameful works of unchas- 
tity, indecent words, tales and ditties, temptation to which 
is daily increased through ^uttony and drunkenness, idle- 
ness and frippery. Yet we go our way as if we were Chris- 
tians; when we have been to church, have said our little 
prayer, have observed the fasts and feasts, th^i we think 
our whole duty is done. 

Now, if no other work were commanded but chastity 
alone, we would all have enou^ to do with this one; so 
perilous and raging a vice is imcbastity. It rages in all our 
members: in the thou^ts of our hearts, in the seeing of our 
eyes, in the hearing of our ears, in the words of our mouth, 
in the works of our hands and feet and all our body. To 
control all these requires labor and effort; and thus the 
Commandments of God teach us how great truly good works 
are, nay, that it is impossible for us of our own strength 
to conceive a good work, to say nothing of attempting or 
doing it. St Augustine says, that among all the conflicts 
of the Christian the conflict of chastity is the hardest, for 
the one reason alone, that it continues daily without 
ceasing, and chastity seldom prevails. This all the saints 
have wept over and lamented, as St. Paul does, Romans vii: 
"I find in me, that is in my flesh, no good thing." Kom. 7;ts 

n. If this work of chastity is to be permanent, it will 
drive to many other good works, to fasting and temper- 
ance over against gluttony and drunkenness, to watching 
and early rising over against laziness and exces^ve sleep. 


37<^ Treatise on Good Works 

Heipi to work &nd labor over against idleness. For gluttcMiy, 

^£^J^ drunkenness, lying late abed, loafing and being without 

ttty woik are we^wns of unchastity, with which chastity is 

R*""- quickly overcome. On the other hand, the holy Apostle 

Paul calls fasting, watching and labor godly weapons, with 

which unchastity is mastered; but, as has been said above, 

these exercises must do no more than overcome unchastify, 

and not pervert nature. 

"~ Above all this, the strongest defence is prayer and the 
Word of God; namely, that when evil lust stirs, a man flee 
to prayer, call upon God's mercy and help, read and medi- 
tate on the Gospel, and in it con^der Christ's sufferings. 
P>. ijT^nilGs'says Psalm czxzvii: "Happy shall he be, that taketh 
and dasheth the little ones of Babylon against the rock," 
that is, if the heart runs to the Lord Christ with its evil 
thoughts while th^ are yet yoimg and just be^nning ; for 
Christ is a Rock, on which they are ground to powder 
and come to naught. 

See, here each (me will find enou^ to do with himself, 
and more than enou^, and will be given many good woiks 
to do within himself. But now no one uses prayer, fastii^, 
watching, labor for this purpose, but men stop in these 
works as if they were in themselves the whole purpose, 
although they ^ould be arranged so as to fulfil the work 
of this Commandment and purify us daily more and more. 
Some have also indicated more things which should be 
avoided, such as soft beds and clothes, that we should 
avoid excessive adornment, and neither associate nor talk 
with members of the opposite sex, nor even look upon them, 
and whatsoever else may be conducive to chastity. In all 
these things no one can fix a definite rule and measure. 
Each one must watch himself and see what things are 
needful to him for chastity, in vrbat quantity and how long 
they help him to be chaste, that he may thus choose and 
observe them for himself; if he caimot do this, let him 
for a time give himself up to be controlled by another, who 
may hold him to such observance until he can leam to rule 


The Sixtti Commandiiieat 377 

himself. This was the purpose for which themooastic 
houses were established of old, to teach young people 
discipline and purity. 

m. In this work a good strong futh is a great help, r>ttb u 
more noticeably so than in almost any other; so that for ^^^ 
this leascm also Isaiah xi. says that "faith is a ffxdle of the titr 
reins," that is, a guard of ciasti^. For he who so lives ^ "=* 
that he looks to God for all grace, takes pleasure in spirit- 
ual purity; therefore he can so much more easily resist 
fleshly impurity: and in such faith the spirit tells him of a 
certainty how he shall avoid evil thoughts and everything 
that is repugnant to chastify. For as the faith in divine 
favor lives without ceaang and works in all works, so it 
also does not cease its admonitions in aU things that are 
pleasii^ to God or displease Him; as St. John says in his 
Epistle: "Ye need not that any man teach you: for the tjeba 
divine anointing, that is, the Sphit of God, teacheth '*'' 
you of all things." 

Yet we must not deqtdr if we are not soon rid of the temp- 
tation, nor by any means im^ne that we are free from it as 
long as we live, and we must regard it only as an incentive 
and admonititm to prayer, fasting, watching, laboring, and 
to other exercises for the quenching of the flesh, esped- 
ally to the practice and exerdse of futh in God. For that 
chastity is not predous which is at ease, but that which is at 
war with unchastity, and fights, and without ceasing drives 
out all the poison with which the flesh and the evil spirit 
attack it. Thus St Peter says, "I beseech you, abstain iPeti:ii 
from fleshly deares and lusts, which war always agunst 
the soul." And St Paul, Romans vi, "Ye shall not obey R""- *;" 
the body in its lusts." In these and like passages it is 
shown tiiat no one is without evil lust; but that every<me 
shall and must daily fight against it. But although thb 
brings uneasiness and pain, it is none the less a work that 
gives pleasure, in which we shall have our comfort and satis- 
faction. For they who think they make an end of tempta- 


378 Treatise on Good Works 

tioQ by yielding to it, only set themselves on fire the more; 
and although foi a time it is quiet, it comes a^ain vith more 
strength another time, and finds the nature weaker than 

Thou shalt not steal. 

Tliis Commandment also has a work, which embraces 
very many good works, and is OH)osed to many vices, and 
is called in German Mildigkelt, "benevolence;" which 
, isaworkreadytohelpandserveeverycmewithone'sgoods. 
And it fights not only against theft and robbery, but 
a^iainst all stinting in temporal goods which moi may 
practise toward one another: such as greed, usury, over- 
char^ng and plating wares that sell as solid, couuterfdt 
wares, ^ort measures and weights, and who could tell aU 
the ready, novd, clever tiicks,* which multiply daily in every 
trade, by which every one seeks his own gain through the 
other's loss, and forgets the rule which says; "What ye 
wish that others do to you, that do ye also to them." 
If every one kept this rule before his eyes in his trade, 
business, and dealings with his neighbor, he would readily 
find how he ought to buy and sell, take and ^ve, lend and 
give for nothing, promise and keep his promise, and the 
like. And when we consider the world in its doings, how 
greed controls aU business, we would not only find enouf^ 
to do, if we would make an honorable living before God, 
but also be overcome with dread and fear for this perilous, 
miserable life, which is so exceedingly overburdened, en- 
tangled and taken captive with cares of this temporal life 
and dishonest seeking of gain. 

n. Therefore the Wise Man says not in vain: "Hapi^ 
is the rich man, who is found without blemish, who does 
not' nm after gold, and has not set his confidence in the 
treasures of money. Who is he? We will praise him, that 


Tlie Seventh Comnuuidmeiit 279 ' 

he has done wondrous things in his life." As if he would 
say; "None such is foimd, or very few indeed." Yea, o»H 
they are very few who notice and recognise such lust for 
gold in themselves. For greed has here a very beautiful, 
fine cover for its shame, which is called provision for the 
body and natural need, imder cover of which it accumu- 
lates wealth beyond all limits and is never satisfied; so 
that he who would in this matter keep himself clean, 
must truly, as he says, do miracles or wondrous things 
in his life. 

Now see, if a man wish not only to do good works, but 
even mirades, which God may praise and be pleased with, 
what need has he to look elsewhere? Let him take heed to 
himself, and see to it that he run not after gold, nor set his 
trust on mon^, but let the gold run after him, and money 
wait on his favor, and let him love none of these things nor 
set hia heart on them; then he is the true, generous, wonder- 
working, haj^y man, as Job xxxi says: "I have never yet Job ji:m 
relied tqwn gold, and never yet made gold my hope and 
confidence." And Fsalm IzJi: "If riches increase, set not Ft.6i;itt 
your heart upon them." So Christ also teaches, Matthew 
vi, that we shaU take no thought, what we shall eat and Mttt. 
drink and wherewithal we shall be clothed, since God cares '*^' *" 
for this, and knows that we have need of all these things. 

But some say: "Yes, rely upon that, take no thought, 
and see whether a roasted chicken will fly into your 
mouth !" I do not say that a man shall not labor and seek 
a living; but he shall not worry, not be greedy, not deq>air, 
thinking that he will not have enough; for in Adam we 
are aU condemned to labor, when God says to him, Gene^ 
iii, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." And Geo. 3:1* 
Job V, "As the birds to flying, so is man bom imto labor." Job st 
Now the birds fly without worry and greed, and so we also ^"'•"* 
should labor without worry and greed; but if you do worry 
and are greedy, wishing that the roasted chicken fly into 
your mouth : worry and be greedy, and see whether you wiU 
thereby fulfil God's Commandment and be saved 1 

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aSo Treatise on Good Works 

r«tthth* m. This work faith teaches of itself. For if the heart 

g^„^ looks for divine favoi and relies upon it, how is it possi- 

iMie* ble that a man should be greedy and worry? He must 

be sure beyond a doubt that God cares for him; therefore 

he does not cling to money; he uses it also with cheerful 

liberality for the benefit of his neighbor, and knows well that 

he will have enough, however mudi he may give away. 

For his God. Whom he trusts , will not lie to hhn nor forsake, 

P». «:« him, as it is written, Psalm xxzvii: "I have been young, 

and now am old; never have I seen a believing man, who 

trusts God, that is a righteous man, forsaken, or his child 

CoL y.s begging bread." Therefore the Apostle calls no other an 

idolatry except covetousness, because this sin shows most 

[daioly that it does not trust God for anything, expects 

more good from its money than from God ; and, as has been 

said, it is by such confidence that God is truly honored or 


And, indeed, in this Commandment it can be dearly 
seen how all good works must be done in faith; for here 
every one most surely feels that the cause of covetousness 
is distrust and the cause of liberality is faith. For because 
a man trusts God, he is generous and does not doubt that 
he will always have enough; 'on the other hand, a man is 
covetous and worries because he does not trust God. 
■^ow, as in this Commandment faith is the master-wprk - 
man and the doer of the good work of liberality, so it is also 
in all the other Commandments, and without such faith 
liberality is of no worth, but rather a careless squandering 
of money. 

TheTMt IV. By this we are also to know that this liberality shall 
^^"••^ extend even to enemies and opponents. For what manner 
of good deed is that, if we are libera] only to our friends? As 
Luke Christ teaches, Luke vi, even a wicked man does that to 
fi^> t- another who is his friend. Besides, the brute beasts also 
do good and are generous to their kind. Therefore a Chris- 
tian must rise higher, let his liberality serve also the unde- 

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The Eighth Commandment 281 

serving, evil-doers, enemies, and the ungrateful, even as uut. 
hi$ heavenly Father makes His sun to rise on good and evil, ^^* 
and the rain to fall on the grateful and ungrateful. 

But here it will be found how hard it is to do good 
works according to God's Ccnmnandment, how nature 
squirms, twists and writhes in its exposition to it, although 
it does the good works of its own choice easily and gladly. 
Therefore take your enemies, the imgrateful, and do good 
to them; then you will find how near you are to this Com- 
mandment or how far from it, and how all your life you will 
always have to do with the practice of this work. For if 
your enemy needs you and you do not help him -nbea you 
can, it is just the same as if you had stolen what belonged 
to him, for you owed it to him to help him. So says St. 
Ambrose, "Feed the himgry; if you do not feed him, you UMt 
have, as far as you are concerned, slain him." And in *'^'' 
this Commandment are included the works of mercy, which 
Christ will require at men's hands at the last day. 

But the magistrates and cities ought to see to it that the 
vagabonds, {nlgiims and mendicants from forei^ lands be 
debarred, or at least allowed only under restrictions and 
rules, so tl^t knaves be not permitted to run at large under 
the guise of mendicants, and their knavery, of which there 
DOW is much, be prohibited; I have spoken at greater 
length of this Commandment in the Treatise on Usury.' 

Thou shall not bear false wltnessTiM 
against thy neighbor. ^. 

This Commandment seems small, and yet is so great, ^^t* 
that he who would rightly keep it must risk and imperil The 
life and limb, goods and honor, friends and all that he has; ^^. 
and yet it includes no more than the work of that small foiaeu 
member, the tongue, and is called in German Wahrheit 
s a g e n , "telling the truth" and, where there is need, 
gainsaying lies; so that it forbids many evil works of the 

nai Ed., VI,36B. Ct. kbo 

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382 Treatise on Good Worts 

iB tongue. First: those which are committed by speaking, 
]|[^^ and those which are committed by keeping silent. By 
speaking, when a man has an unjust law-suit, and wants'to 
prove and maintain his case by a false argument, catch 
his neighbor with subtilty, produce everything that 
strengthens and furthers his own cause, and withhold and 
discount everything that furtho^ his neighbor's good cause; 
If att. in doing whidi he does not do to bis neighbor as he would 
''" have his neighbor do to him. This S(Hne men do for the 
sake of gain, some to avoid loss or ^lame, thereby seeking 
thdr own advantage more than God's Commandment, and 
excuse themselves by saying: Vigilanti jura sub- 
V e n i u n t , "the law helps him who watdies"; just as 
if it were not as much their dufy to watch for their neigh- 
bor's cause as for their own. Thus they intentionally 
allow theii neighbor's cause to be lost, although they know 
that it is just. This evil is at present so conuncoi that I 
fear no court is held and no suit tried but that one ade sins 
against this Commandment. And even when they cannot 
accomplish it, they yet have the unrighteous si»rit and will, 
so that they would wish the neighbor's just cause to be lost 
and their unjust cause to pro^r. Tiiis sin is most fre- 
quent when the (^)ponent b a prominent man or an enemy. 
For a man wants to revenge himself on his enemy: but the 
ill will of a man <^ prominence he does not wi^ to bring 
upon himself; and then begins the flattering and fawning, 
or, on the other hand, the withholding of the truth. Here 
no one is willing to run the risk of disfavor and di^easure, 
loss and danger for the truth's sake; and so God's Ctaa- 
mandment must perish. And this is aknost universally 
the way of the world. He who would keep this Com- 
mandment, would have both hands full doing only those 
good works which concern the tongue. And then, how many 
are there who allow themselves to be fenced and swerved 
aside from the truth by presents and giftsi so that in all 
places it is truly a high, great, rare work, not to be a false 
witness against one's nd^bor. 

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The Eig^A Comnundment 383 

n. Tbere is a second bearing of witness to the truth, fa 
which is still greater, with which we must fight gainst the 5£2im 
evil spirits; and this- concerns not tnnporal matters, but the 
Gospel and the truth of faith, which the ^^ spirit has at 
no time been able to oidure, and always so manages that 
the great among men, whom it is hard to resist, must op- 
pose and persecute it. Of which it is written in Psalm 
Izzzii, "Rid the poor out of the hand of the wicked, and Pi- 
help the forsaken to mtuntain his just cause." *'^ ^ 

Such persecution, it is true, has now become infrequent; 
but that is the fault of the spiritual prelates, who do not stir 
up the Gospel, but let it perish, and so have abandoned the 
very thing because of which such witnessing and persecu- 
' tion should arise; and in its place they teach us their own 
law and what pleases them. For this reason the devil 
also does not stir, since by vanquishing the Gospel he has 
also vanquished faith in Christ, and everything goes as he 
wishes. But if the Gospel should be stirred up and be 
heard again, without doubt the whole world would be 
aroused and moved, and the greater portirai of the kings, 
princes, bishops, doctors and clergy, and all that is great, 
would oppose it and rage against it, as has always h^>- 
pened when the Word of God has onne to light; for the 
world cannot endure what comes from God. This is proved 
in Christ, Who was and is the very greatest and most pre- 
cious and best of all that God has; yet the world not only 
did not receive Him, but persecuted Him more cruelly 
than all others who had ever come forth from God. 

Therrfore, as at that time, so at all times there are few 
who stand by the divine truth, and imperil and risk Ufe 
and limb, goods and honor, and all that they have, as Christ 
has foretold: "Ye shall be hated of all men for My Name's M^tt 
sake." And: "Many of them shall be offended in Me." **' 
Yea, if this truth were attacked by peasants, herdsmen, 
stable-boys and men of no standing, who would not be 
willing and able to confess it and to bear witness to it? 
But when the pope, and the bishops, together with princes 

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384 TlTMtiBe on Good Wcaks 

and kings attack it, all men flee, keep silent, dissemble, in 
order that they may not lose goods, honor, favor and life. 

*•—• HI. Why do they do this? Because they have no faith 
* ** in God, and expect nothing good from Him. For where 
>• such faith and confidence are, there is also a bold, defiant, 
'"" fearless heart, that ventures and stands by the truth, 
thoi^ it cost life or cloak, though it be against pope ox 
kings; as we see that the martyrs did. F or such a heart ia . 
aarisfied and [ f^ta e^y hy^i^se it has a pado 'tf, IgYJ^ff 
'(^^ therefore it despises all the favor, grace, goods and 
honor of men, lets them come and go as they please; as is 
Pk 154 written in Psalm xv: "He contemneth them that contemn 
God, and honoreth them that fear the Lord"; that is, the 
tyrants, the mighty, who persecute the truth and deqnse 
God, he does not fear, he does not regard them, he despiseth 
them ; on the other band, those who are persecuted for the 
truth's sake, and fear God more than men, to these he 
clings, these he defends, these he honors, let it vex whcmi 
Hd>. it may; as it is written of Moses, Hebrews zi, that he stood 
""** by h^ brethren, regardless of the mighfy king of Egypt. 
Lo, in this Commandment ag^ you see briefly that fiuth 
must be the master-workman in this work also, so that 
without it no one has courage to do this work: so,£iUizelx 
nrp all ynrlis comprisftd in f juth, a s has now be^ often said. 
Th e r efore, apart from faith ^ works, are dead, however 
good the form and name they bear. For as no_ qs&Joe&. 
the work of this rnmTTign^jpifint ^-Tfypf bff K«> fiim and_ 
tearless in. the confidence of divine also he does no 
work of any other Commandment without the same faith: 
thus every one may easily by this Commandment test and 
wei^ himself whether he be a Christian and truly beheve 
in Christ, and thus whether he is doing good works or no. 
Now we see how the Ahnighty God has not only set our 
Lord Jesus Christ before us that we should believe in Him 
with such confidence, but also holds before us in Him an 
ezaQq)le of this same confidence and of such good works, 


The mnth and Tenth Conunandments 385 

to the end that we should believe in Him, follow Him and 
abide in Him forever; as He says, John ziv: "I am the Way, jobn h* 
the Truth and the life," — tiie Way, in which we follow 
Him; the Truth, that we believe in Him; the life, that we 
live in Him forever. 

From all this it is now manifest that all other works, 
which are not conmunded, are perilous and easily known: 
such as h yildin g churches, beautifying them, makii^ 
pilgrimages, and all that is written at so great length in the 
Canon Law and has misled and burdened the world and 
ruined it, made uneasy consdences, silenced and weakened 
faith, and has not said how a man, although he neglect all 
else, has enough to do with all his powers to ke^ the Com- 
mandments of God, and can never do all the good works 
which he is commanded to do; why ihai does he sedc 
others, which are neither necessary not commanded, and 
neglect those that are necessary and commanded? 

The last two Commandments, which for* n» 
bid evil desires of the body for pleasure and for tern- ^* 
poral goods, are clear in themselves; these evil desires do tmA 
no harm to our neighbor, and yet they continue imto the ^^. 
grave, and the strife in us against them endures unto death; nenta 
therefore these two Commandments are drawn together by 
St. Paul into one, Romans vii, and are set as a goal unto lUan. 77 
which we do not attain, and only in our thoughts reach after 
until death. For no one has ever been so holy that he felt 
in himself no evil inclination, especially when occasion and 
temptation were offered. For grigjqal 3JB 's bwriJnjiaJixA 
nature^ and may be chedced, but not entirely uprooted, \ 
iXC!{!i through the death of the body; which for this ) 
reason is profitable and a thing to be desired.' To this / 
may God help us. Amen. / 

>Cf.Tk« F««rt<Bii «( Coitt«l*tl«B abovt^p-tM. 

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The Trefttisc on the New Testament, that {a, on the 
Holy Masi, was published in the year ijao.^ In the beginning of 
Auguat of that year, Luther's Address to the Christian No- 
bility of the German Nation bod appeared, in which he had 
touched upon the subject of tlie mass,' but refused to express himself 
fully at that time, promising to take up this questiM) laUr, a promise 
which be bad already made in his Treatise on Good Works, of 
May, 1510.' He must have begun the preparation <4 this Treatise 
on the New Testament while the Address to the Chris- 
tian Nobility waa still {□ press, because on Aug. 3 it was already 
finished and ready fc« publication.* The treatise, therefwe, takea its ^aos 
betweoi Luther's two hmous writing, the Address to the Chris- 
tian Nobility and the Babylonian Captivity of the 
Church, which appeared In Oct, 1510. Its tone is remarkably quiet, 
and its aim predominantly omstiuctive. Itisoneof those devotional tracts 
iriuch Luther iwued from time to time between his larger publications, and 
which appear like roses ammg the thorns of his polemical writings. 

The doctrine of the Lord's Suffxr was <Hie of the most corrupt doctrines 
of the Roman Church, and it was, therefore, but natural that Luther 
should have written eztensivdy mi this siAject, even at the beginning of the 

< As the earliest pdots, the {^lowing may be mentioned: (OByJoh. Grueneaberf 
In Wittenberg, isio (thebasUofthe Wdmar text); (3) br the lune publisher, I5ic^ 
(SI by Melcbior Lotther In Witteobeii, 1510; (4} by Sikniu Ottniar hi WitteobelK 
Aog. iiM, 1510 (thii ti the tett of the ErlsoBeD Edition); (5) a Wit- 
tenbeiK print with no mention of the publiihcr, but otberwiae idrntical in 
appearance with No. 4; <6) by Fridrichen Peypus at KUnibag, 1510; {7) ■ Witten- 
berg print, 1510. with no mention of the publliha; (B) by Adam Petri la Bud. 
1510; (q) a mitoiberg edition o( 1510, revised by Luther (a n d e r w c i t gecor- 
rliiert dntch D. Uart. Luther);thu edidoa In ocUvo, all the 
preceding in quarto. The text ai this treatise In the foUowiog collectioni of Luther's 
works, Wittenberg, Vn, 15 S.; Jena, I, 31Q S.; Altenburg. I, juff.; Ldpzig, XVII 
440 a.; Wskh XIX, 1156 B.; Erlangen XXVII, 141 B.; Weimar VI, 353 ff. 

* By tbc wnd "mut" Luther means the celebration of the Lord'i Supper. EvcB 
afta this saoament was understood la an erugelical Kose. the Lutherans for a 
long time kept the name mass. Thus Melanchtbon writes in tbe Augs. Conf., 
Art. zdv. "Our churches are lalscly accnseal of sbcdiahhig the dum; for the maai k 
retained on our part, sod cek^rated with the greatest n 

• Psge SI4. 
*DtWBm, Lather's Brief e. 1.475. 

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390 Treatise on fbo New Teetiment 

wtA of refonnatko. From this period, wbta tHe of^osltloa of the 
SacrunentaiUm' to the doctrine t4 the Rttl Preaeoce had not yet uteo 
we tour writings of Lutber in which he nukea this wcnment & nibject 
ot tptdal Hi^iiHyrinn Theae are (i) hii mild-toned Sermon von dem 
hochwQrdigen Saciament, etc, of ijiq; (a) the pmcnt 
Sermon von dem neuen Testament , etc., of Aug., 1530; 
(3) the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, of Oct, 153a; 
(4) the strongly pdemical tract On the Abuse of the Man, 1511.* 
We shall have occasion to refer to some interesting pcrints of ccnnpuiMO 
among these woAa. 

This treatise is divided into sections, ending with number 40, hut section 
$a is omitted, so that there are only 39 in all. Section i contains the in- 
troduction, section 40 the condurion. Sectims a-is are the pONtive, 
constructive part of the treatise, dealing with the question. What b the 
Lord's Supper? In sections 16-34 the sacri&ul theory of the Roman 
Church is rejected; sections 35-31 discuss (i) in how far we may q>eak of 
IwnUng an offering in the lacmment, and (3) what foIlowB for the concq>- 
tion of a true priesthood in the Church, viz., the priesthood of all bdievcn, 
Sectioos 33-39 deal, among other things, with the abuses to which an uD- 
scriptural omception of the Lord's Supper has led. Of special btoest 
is section 13, in which Luther gives a summary of all that eaten into the 
Sacrament of the Altar. 

Knowing, as we do, that Luther developed his doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper gradually^ and under stress of much <^)poation frcsn all sides, it b 
interesting for us to note the stage of that devel<^>ment which this treatise 
r ep r esen ts. We may, therefore, inquire how he stood at this time on the 
question of the Real Presence. Hiis questitm is answoed undo' the fourth 
pdnt of section is. The true jwesence of the body and blood cannot be 
more dearly admitted than [s done in sections 11 and 11 of this treatise. 
We can safely say that there never was a time when Luther was uncertain 
on this point. The pdnt of view from which be discusses the significance 
tt the sacrament intfae Sermon von dem bochwflrdigen 
Sacrament (1519) has sometimes been dted to the contraiy, but even 
to this Sermon, with it> onphiss iqxMi the tphitual body of Christ, 
of which evai those may be partaken whom the pope mi^t czdude frcm 
the estenal ctanmunion, he q»ealcs at the bread and wine aa being changed 

'Tba name givoi by the Lutheran thunLif.Tn to tboea lAa denied At nal 
^cMDce of the body ind blood ot Chrict in the Lc»d'i Su|i(>er. 

* Tm mote miijit have been mcntiaiMd: (i] ■ diicoune on the propa pnpaiatioa 
fcr the Lcsd's Supper (Eil. Ed., XVII, 55 B.) ud (1} tlu Dlscoerse on 
EicomrQoniotlDii (Itrid., XXVII, >ofi.}. 

■In the IntiodDctiaa to The Babylonian Captivity ot the 
Chnrcb he writes: T am compeDcd, whether I win m not. lo became dalbr 
■Mm kscMd. bavinc Ki many natsUe teadtcn dfUgSBtly poshiai me on and keep- 
facneatwofk." (Weimar Ed., VI,4(i7-) 

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Introdnction 391 

into the Lord's "true, nmtunl fleah" and into Hii "nttitnl, trae blood,"* 
whkh ibowa ttwt Luther at th&t time, nine months before the appear- 
ance of this Treatise on the New Testament, still held even 
tn tlie conception of tiansubstantiatioa. He cannot, thenfore, havg 
bad donbts about the Real Presence. 

In view, however, of the rapid developmeot of Luther's doctrinal cm- 
cations, we might further ask: Did Luther still retain his belief in trait- 
snbstantiation at the time when he wrote the Treatise on the New 
Testament? At the be{^nnin|[ of October in this same year, in Us 
Babylonian Captivity, Luther coones out for the first time with 
an attack oa this Rnoan doctrine. He regards it as a mere human opin- 
ko, which one may accqit oc not accept, and deariy indinea to tbe belief 
that after ccosectation not only tbe form (G e s t a 1 1 ; 1 p e c 1 e >), but 
abo tbe substance of bread and wine is stiU present.* In the Sermon 
von dem hocbwflrdigen Sacrament he qioke of the "shape 
and fonn of the bread"; in the present treatise he chooses the ezprcasicn; 
"£Gs own true flesh and blood under the biead and wine" (sec. ii). Thia 
would saon to indicate that in this writing he already hdds the opinion 
which be soon af towan] eipnsied In the Babylonian Captivity. 
But while be bdievesin thereal presence of Chrbt's "own tme flesh and 
Uood," this body of Christ he regards — at this time, whot he has not yet 
bad to iBcet the qnrituallstic interpretation of tbe Sacramentarians — as a 
sign only, a thing signifying tbe Uesaing of tbe sacrament, which is fcogiv^ 
nets of tins and Ufe etenal (sec 10). Enctly tbe same view is expressed in 
tbe Sermon ottsi9-* 'Xutliec dota not yet speak of 'any value which 
this bocfy, aaCTanwntally Imparted, is nqipoaed to have In and of itsdf.' "• 

Hw qnestkn nezt ariaea: Bow doe* the nd[rfent of the rign (body and 
blood under bread and wine} become partaker ot that which is thereby dg- 
nified? It Is throu^ faith, as the receiving organ (sec. 13). So.too.bitba 
Sermon of isig, where it is called the "third part of the sacrament," 
"in whkh the power lies" (wo die Macht anllegt). Atalater 
time Lntbei found it necessary to empbasice the fact that It b not through 
the faith of the redpknt that the ncrameat gains its power and efficacy, 
•inca this attaches to it dnqdy by virtue of tbe Word;' but that faith Is 
the lecefvlng organ for tbe bUsalng of the Mcrantent is a coovlctiao which 
be never gave up. 

Tlw object of faith Is the Goq)d, I. e.,the pnxnise of tbe Ioi|jveaeH of 
Aia contained in the Words of butttutioa, which arc a "Uatameot," a 

>Cf. KoBnUN-KAWiutr, Martin Lather, 4th ed., I.sS*: Kamuw> 
Eav, Thaolotr of Lather, I. 9M f; Lather's Werkc. Berlin 

Ed., m, «6l-l64< *74. 
•Weimar Ed.,VI.Siif. 
■CL KoMtuw-H*T, op. cit., LMBt 
<TbId., p-isa. 
*Erl. Ed., XVI, S3. 9* ff. 

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293 Treatise on flie New Testameid 

"new and eternal testament" (sees. s-io). Hence the title of the wtxk, 
Treatise on the New Testament. While the Sermon ol 
151Q q)eaks of the Goq>d only in general, we have here a spedal 
emphasis on the woids of iostitutioii as embracing "in a ahott summaiy" 
the whole Gospel (sec 33). The words of institutiai are sdU futhec 
emphasized and interpreted in the work On the Abuse of the Mass, 
of ijii. Because of the imp<»taDce of the W(«d in the sacrament, Luther 
dedaies that the words of institution should be tpokta aloud, not 
whispered, as was and is done in the Roman churches, and in a lugnage 
which is understood by the people (sec 16). 

An eq>edally stHldng feature of this treatise is the iqieUed asaertJcm 
that faith which leans on the Word, and is the "iiiindpal part et the mass," 
does not absolutely need the sacrament. "I can daily enjoy the sacra- 
ment in the mass if only I keep before my eyes the testament, that is, the 
words and covenant of Christ, and feed and stimgthen my faith thereby" 
(sec. 17).' He quotes Augustine: "Only believe, so hast thou already par- 
taken of the sacrament." In interpreting this passage we must remembtf 
that Luther was writing at a time when he was daily opecting to hear that 
the pope had excommunicated him from the Church. His comfwt was 
that he and his foUowen could not be excluded by a papal dictum from the 
ccxnmunion of true believen and saints, nor deprived of the qnritual feeding 
upon the true spiritual body at Christ. 

In this treatise Luther also attacks foi the first time the Roman doctrine 
of the mass as a bloodless repetition of the sacrifice caice made oa Calvary — 
a theoiy which forgets that the mass is a testament and sacrament, in 
irtilch God priHnises and gives sraiething to us, not we to Him (sec tg). 
la much stronger language, and quoting Scripture more eztcnsivdy, 
Luther eqioses and rejects this emt, so fundamatal to the Roman system, 
inhisworicof 1511, On the Abuse of the Mass. In tbe Baby- 
lonian Captivity he remarks, "When I published my Sermoa of 
tbe Supper,* I was still caught in the prevailing conception, and was in- 
different lAether the pope waa right <v not."* In this treadae, then, we 
have the first clear statement of tbe reformer oa this subject. 

It shows, however, the beautifully conservative character ol Luther 
that even here, where he is compelled to reject the Roman saciifidal theory, 
we see him laboring to detect at least an dement of scriptural truth in the 
refuted doctrine. He says (sees. a6, 37) that in the St^per we use Chiirt 
as OUT Sacrifice and Mediator, by bringing our prayer and thankagiving to 
tbe Father through Km. And this furnishes the basis on which he builds 
the evangelical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers (sec 38): a 1 1 C 
Christenmftnner Pfaffen, alle Welbet Pfaffinnen, 

'5« also with much emphami in tbe SeimoQ v. d. hochw. Sac, is)9- 
*Hemeuis the Serm. v. d. hochw. Sac, 1519. 
■Weimar Ed., VI, joa. 

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Introductioii 293 

es sef jung odtt alt, etc. This thought h atiU man stt<»g1y 
emphasized in the Abuse of the Mass, <rf 1531. 

Two more points need to be mentioaed, — the withholding of the cup fiom 
the laity and tlie number of the saciaments. In the Sermon of isig 
Luther attaches little imp<«tBnce to the coaununion in both kiiida, though 
be thinks it would be well for the Church in a General Council to restore 
the two dements to all Christians. But in this tieatiae of 15 30 be is already 
beginning to use stronger language. He would like to know who gave the 
power to withhold the ct^i (sec. 34)- Inthe Babylonian Captivity 
and in the Abuse of the hfass be unqwringly ctmdemns the Roman 
practice. On the number of the sacramcats, Luther seems not yet to 
' have been entirely in the dear when he wrote this wwk. In Section 34 he 
mentions, besides baptism and the Lord's Supper, "confirmation, penance, 
extreme unction, etc." Intbe Babylonian Captivity hedefinitely 
reduces tbe seven sacraments of the Roman Church to baptism, the Lord's 
Supper and penance, but he had his doubts on this point before he wrote this 
present work, as we may conclude from a remark in the Sermon of 1519, in 
which he distinguishes "baptism and the bread" as the two "principal sac- 
raments," and also from a letter to Spaktin,' in which he writes that no one 
need expect from him a publication on the other sacraments until he shall 
fiist have been taught by what passage of Scripture he may justify them.' 

In conclusion, it may be said that this whole Treatise on tbe New 
Testament is a beautiful illustration of the amstructive power of 
Luther's work. Id the work of tearing down he proceeds with the greatest 
care, ever mindful of his duty to replace the old with something which can 
stand the test of Scripture. 

J. L. NEVE. 

WinxNBExo Tbeolocical SEWHAaY, 
Spkincfieu), O. 

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•n* I. ExPESiENCE, aU'duoDides, and the Holy Scriptures 

^^tf be^des, teach us this tiuth: the less law, the more ju»- 
Uwi tice; the fewer commandineDts, the more good woiks. 
No well-regulated community ever existed long, if at all, 
where there were many laws. Ther^ore, before the 
ancient law of Moses, the Patriarchs of old had do pre- 
scribed law and ordei for the service of God other than 
the sacrifices ; as we read of Adam, Abel, Noah and others. 
Afterward, circumcision was enjtnned upon Abraham 
and his household, until the time of Moses, through 
whom God gave the people of Israel divers laws, forms, 
and practices, for the sole purpose of teaching himian nature 
how utterly useless many laws are to nLake people pious. 
For although the law leads and drives away from evil to 
good works, it is still in^iossible for man to do them will- 
ingly and ^adly; but he has at all times an aversion for 
the law and woidd rather be free. Now where there is 
unwillingness, there can never be a good work. For what 
is not done willin^y is not good, and only seems to be 
good. Consequently, all the laws cannot make one really 
pious without the grace of God, for they can produce only 
dissemblers, hypocrites, pretenders, and proud saints, 
UM.6:» such as have their reward here, and never please God. 
Hti. i:io Thizs He says to the Jews, Malachi i: "I have no pleasure 
in you; for who is there among you that would even as 
much as shut a door for me, willingly and out of love?" 
^^if. 9. Anoth^ result of many laws is this, that many sects 
fWoM and divisions in the congr^ations [Gemeinden] arise tnnn 


Tieatise on flie New Testament 295 

them. One adopts this way, another tliat, and there grows 
up in each man a false, secret love for his own sect, and a 
hatred, or at least a contempt for, and a disregard of the 
other sects, whereby brotherly, free, common love perishes, 
and selfish love prevaila. So Jeremiah and Hosea speak, Jn. i:a 
yea, all the profits lament that the people of Israd ^^„ „ 
divided themselves into as many sects as there were cities 
in the land; each desiring to outdo the others. Thence 
also arose the Sadducees and Pharisees in the Gospel. 

So we observe to-day, that through the Spiritual Law' 
but little justice and ^ety have arisen in Christendom; the 
world has been filled with dissemblers and hypocrites and 
with 80 many sects, orders, and divisions of the one people 
of Christ, that almost every dty is divided into tra par- 
ties or more. And they daily devise new ways and 
manners (as they think) of serving God, until it has come 
to this, that priests, monks, and laity have become more 
hostile toward each other than Turks and Christians. 
Yea, the priests and the monks are deadly ^emies, wrang- 
ling about thdr self-conceived ways and methods Hke fools 
and madmen, not only to the hindrance, but to the very 
destruction of Christian love and unity. Each one clings 
to his sect and despises the others; and they regard the lay- 
men as though they were no Christians. This lament- 
able condition is on^ a result of the laws. 

3. Christ, in order that He might prepare for Himself Th» 
an acceptable and beloved people, which should be bound ^JJ^ 
together in unity through love, aboUshed the whole law of Uw 
Moses. And that He might not give further occasion for 
divisions, He did not again appoint more than one law or 
order for His entire people, and that the holy mass. 
For, althou^ baptism is also an external ordinan<x, yet 
it takes place but once, and is not a practice of the entire 
life, like the mass. Therefore, after baptism there is to be 
no other external order for the service of God except the 

n tor the law of the Church, ot " Ctnon Law." 


2g6 Treatise on the New Testameat 

mass. And where the mass is used, there is a true service, 
even though there be no other form, with singing, playing, 
bell-ringing, vestments, ornaments and postures; for every- 
thing of this sort is an addition invented by men. When 
Christ Himself first instituted this sacrament and held the 
first mass, there were do patens, no chasuble, no singing, no 
pageantry, but only thanksgiving to God, and the use of 
the sacrament. After this same simplicity the Apostles and 
all Christians long time held mass, until the divers forms 
and additions arose, by which the Romans held mass one 
way, the Greeks another; and now it has finally come to 
this, that the chief thing in the mass has become un- 
known, and nothing is remembered except the additions 
of men. 
Chriifi 4. The nearer, now, our masses are to the first mass of 
JJjS'ilad Christ, the better, without doubt, they are; and the farther 
Han'i fiom Christ's mass, the more perilous. For that reason 
SSL we may not boast of ourselves, against the Russians or 
Greeks, that we alone have a right to hold mass; as little 
as a priest who wears a red chasuble may boast against 
him who wears one of white or black. For such external 
additions and differences may by their dissimilarity make 
sects and dissensions, but they can never make the mass 
better. Although I neither wish nor am able to displace 
or discard all such additions, still, because such pompous 
forms are perilous, we must never permit ourselves to be 
led away by them from the simple institution by Christ and 
from the right use of the mass. And, indeed, the greatest 
and most useful art is to know what really and properly 
belongs to the mass, and what is added and foreign. For 
where there is no clear distinction, the eyes and the heart 
are easily misled by such shamming into a false impres- 
sion and delusion; so that what men have invented is 
reckoned the mass, and what the mass is, is never eq>eri- 
enced, to say nothing of deriving benefit from it. Tlus, 
alas) it happens in our times; for, I fear, every day more 
than a thousand masses are said, of which perhaps not one 

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T^vatise on the New Testament 297 

Is a real mass. O dear Christiaii, to have many masses 
is not to have the mass. There is more to it than that. 

5. K we desire to say mass rightly and understand it, Tb» 
then we must give up everything that the eyes and all the ^^ 
senses behold and suggest in this act, such as vestments, in th« 
bells, songs, ornaments, prayers, processions, elevations,'"'" 
prostrations, or whatever happens in the mass, until we 
first lay hold of and consider well the words of Christ, by 
which He completed and instituted the mass and com- 
manded us to observe it. For therein lies the whole mass, 

its nature, work, profit and benefit, and without them 
(i. e., the words] no benefit is derived from the mass. But 
these are the words: Take and eat, this is Uatt. 
My body, which is given for you. Take l^'^^ 
and drink ye all of it, this is the cup of UaA 14 
the new and eternal testament in My ^''^ 
blood, which is shed for you and for Lnkeu: 
many for the forgiveness of sins. These "■ ** 
words every Christian must have before him in the mass 
and hold fast to them as the chief part of the mass, in which 
also the really good preparation for the mass and sacra- 
ment is taught; this we shall see. 

6. If man is to deal with God and receive anything from raith 
Him, it must happen in this wise, not that man begin ai d ^>, 
lay the first stone, but that God alone, without any en- Fron- 
treaty or desire of man, must first come and give him a '*•' 
promise.' This word of God is the beginning, the foimda- 
tion, the rock, upon which afterward all works, words and 
thoughts of man must build. This word man must grate- 
fully accept, and faithfully believe the divine promise, 

and by no means doubt that it is and comes to pass just 
as He promises. This trust and faith is the beginning, 
middle, and end of all works and righteousness. For, 
because man does God the honor of regarding and confess- 
ing Him as true. He becomes to him a gradous God, Who 

'Forlbe vpUcAtlonof tblsprindple to tbc Hcnmentof pauiice,Methe Dli' 
GDiiion o( Con[«**ion •bove.p.Sit. 

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398 Tmtise oa tba New TQsUnwnt 

in turn honors faim and r^ards and confesses him as true. 
Thus it is not possible that man, of his own reason and 
strength, should by works ascend to heaven and antici- 
pate God, moving Him to be gradous; but God must antici- 
pate all works and thoi^ts, and make a prconise dearly 
expressed in words, which man then takes and keeps with 
a good, firm faith. Then follows the Holy Spirit, Who is 
given him because of this same faith. 
7. Such a promise was given to Adam after his fall, 
Geo. 3:15 when God spake to the serpent: "I will put enmity between 
thee and the woman, between her seed and thy seed : she 
shall crush thy head ; and thou shalt He in wait for her foot."^ 
In these words, however obscurely, God promises bdp 
to human nature, namely, that by a woman the devil shall 
again be overcome. This promise of God sustained Adam 
and Eve and all thdr children imtil the time of Noah; in 
this th^ beheved, and by this faith they were saved; else 
G<a.g«f. they had de^iaired. In like manner, aiter the fiood. He 
made a covenant with Noah and his children, until the time 
G«n.t>:t, of Abraham (Geneds xii), whom He summoned out of his 
' fatherland, and promised that in his seed all nations should 
Gen. 18: be blessed. This promise Abraham believed and obeyed, 
^ and thereby was justified and became the friend ci God. 
11:18; In the same book this promise to Abraham is many times 
'^^ repeated, enlarged and made more definite, until Isaac is 
promised him, who was to be the seed from which Christ 
and every blessii^ should come. In this faith upon the 
promise Abraham's children were kq>t until the time of 
Christ, although in the mean time it was continually re- 
newed and made more definite by David and many prt^h- 
Lokc 16: ets. This promise the Lord in the Gospel calls "Abra- 
**• "* ham's bosom," because in it were k^t all who with a ri^t 
faith cltmg thereto, and, with Abraham, waited for Christ 
Then came Moses, who declared the same promise under 
many forms in the Law. Through him God promised the 

* IMbtx QtMte* from tbc Vulgate, St. Joome'i Latb mdos at O* KUa. 



TrMtise oa tte New Testament aog 

people of Israel the land of Canaan, while they were still 
in Egypt; which promise they believed, and by it they weie 
sustained and led into that land. 

8. In the New Testament, likewise, Christ has made a Qo«y» 
promise or solemn vow, which we are to believe and thereto ^^f"* 
come to godliness and salvation. This promise is the word icm»- 
in which Christ says: "This is the cup of the New Testa- ^^^^ 
ment." This we shall now examine. Luke 

Not every vow is called a testament, but only a last iire- '"=*• 
vocable will of one who is about to die, wha«by he be- 
queaths his goods, allotted and assigned to be distributed 
to whom he will. Just as St. Paul says to the Hebrews ha. 9: 
that a testament must be made operative by death, and '^ " 
avails nothing while he still lives who made the testament. 
For other vows, made for this life, may be hindered or re- 
called, and hence are not called testaments. Therefore, 
wherever in Scrq>ture God's testament is referred to by the 
prophets, in that very word the prophets are tau^t that 
God would become man and die and rise again, to the end 
that His Word, in which He promised such a testament, 
might be fulfilled and confirmed. For if He is to make a 
testament as He promised, then He must die ; if He is to die. 
He must be a man. And so that little word "testament" is 
a short summary of all God's wonders and grace, fulfilled 
in Christ. 

9. He also distinguishes this testament from others and ixfftr- 
says, " It is a new and everlasting testament, in His own ||^,^ 
blood, for the forgiveness of ^ns"; whereby He disannuls oidM« 
the old testament. For the little word "new" makes the j^l^ 
testament of Moses old and ineffective, one that avails nmm 
no more. The old testament was a prc«nise made through 
Moses to the people of Israel, to whom was promised the 

land of Canaan. For this testament God did not die, but 
the paschal lamb had to die instead of Christ and as a 
type of Christ; and so it was a temporal testament in the 
blood of the paschal lamb, which was shed for the obtaining 
and possessing of that land of Canaan. And as the paschal 

.,, Google 

300 Tmtiie on tite New Testament 

lamb, which died in the old testament for the land of Canaan, 
was a temporal and transitory thing, so too the old tes- 
tament, together with that possession or land of Canaan 
allotted and promised therein, was temporal and trand- 

But Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, is an eternal divine 

Person, Who dies to establish the new testament; therefore 

the testament and the possessions therein bequeathed are 

eternal and abiding. And that is what He means when He 

contrasts this testament with that other, and says: A 

new testament — so that the other may become 

Hcti. 8;i3 old and of none effect. Aneternal testament, 

He says, not temporal like that other; not to dispose of 

temporal lands or possessions, but of eternal. In My 

blood, He says, not in the blood of a lamb. All thte 

is to the end that the old should be altogether annulled 

and give place to the new alone. 

Whtt Is lo. What then is this testament, and what is bequeathed 

1^"^ us therein by Christ? Forsooth, a great, eternal and un- 

OMlbM speakable treasure, namely, the forgiveness of all ^ns, 

UM.i6:as the words plainly state, "TTiis is the cup of a new eter- 

L^ nal testament in My blood, that is shed for you and for 

9i:io many for the remission of sin." As though He said: 

' II35 " Scl^old, man, in these words I |Hxnnise and bequeath thee 

forgiveness of all thy sin and eternal life. And in order 

that thou mayest be certain and know that such promise 

remains irrevocably thine, I will die for it, and will give My 

body and blood for it, and will leave them both to thee as 

sign and seal, that by them thou mayest remember Me." 

Luke So He says: "As oft as ye do this, remember Me." Even 

I Q»i'° ^ ^ ^^'^ ^^^ bequeathes something includes therein what 

ii:as shall be done for him afterward, as is the custom at present 

in the requiems and masses for the dead, so also Christ has 

ordained a requiem for Himself in this testament; not that 

He needs it, but because it b necessary and profitable for 

us to remember Him; whereby we are strengthened in 

faith, confirmed in hope and made ardent in love. For as 

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TrettiM on flie New TeBtament 301 

long as we live on earth our lot is such that the evil spirit 
and all the world assail us with joy and sorrow, to extin- 
guish our love for Christ, to blot out our faitii, and to 
weaken our hope. Wherefore we sorely need this sacra- 
ment, in which we may gain new strength wh^ we have 
grown weak, and may daily exercise ourselves imto the 
stiengthenit^ and uplifting of the spirit. 

11. Furthermore, in all His promises God has usually Pmd 
given a ngn in addition to the word, for the greater assur- ff^ 
ance and strengthening of our faith. Thus He gave Noah cea. ov> 
the ^gn of the rainbow. To Abraham He gave drcum- ^ 
d^on as a sign. To Gideon He gave the rain on the grotmd 17:11 
and on the fleece; and we constantly find in the Scriptures J"?f- 
many of these signs, given along with the promises. For 

so ^so worldly testaments are made; not only are the 
words written down, but seals and notaries' marks are 
affixed thereto, that they may always be binding and 
authentic, llius Christ has done in this testament and 
has affixed to the words a powerfid and most precious seal 
and sign; this is His own true body and blood under the 
bread and wine. For we poor men, since we live in our 
five senses, must always have, along with the words, at 
least one outward sign, on which we may lay hold, and 
around which we may gather; but in such wise that this 
sign may be a sacrament, that is, that it may be external 
and yet coDtain and express something spiritual, so that 
through the external we may be drawn into the spiritual, 
comprehending the external with the eyes of the body, the 
spiritual and inward with the eyes of the heart. 

12. Now we see how many parts there are in this testa- n* 
ment, or the mass. There is, first, the testator who makes Stri 
the testament, Christ. Second, the heirs to whom the ttmaat 
testament is bequeathed, we Christians. Third, the tes- 
tament in itself, the words of Christ when He says: "This 

is My body which is given for you. This is My blood 
which is shed for you, a new eternal testament, etc." 
Fourth, the seal or tt^en, the sacrament, bread and wine, 

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303 TrwtiM on the New Testunent 

and und^ them His true body and blood. For eveiy- 
thing that is in this sacrament must live; therefore He did 
not put it in dead vrit and seal, but in living wuds and 
signs which we use from day to day. 

And this is what is meant when the priest elevates the 

host,* by which act he addresses us rather than God, as 

though he said to us: Behold, this is the seal and s^ of the 

testament in which Christ has bequeathed us remission of 

all an and eternal life. With this agrees also that which is 

Httt. sung by the choir: "Blessed be He that cometh to us in 

"* the name of God"? so that we testify how we receive 

therein blessings from God, and do not sacrifice nor give to 

Him. Fifth, the bequeathed blessing which the words 

signify, namely, remission of sin and eternal life. Sixth, 

the obligation, remembrance or requiem which we should 

observe for Christ, to wit, that we preach this His love and 

grace, heat and meditate upon it, by it be incited and pre- 

I Cor. served unto love and hope in Him, as St. Paul eiplains it: 

"'■'^ "As oft as ye eat this bread and diink of this cup ye show 

the death ot Christ." And this is what an earthly testator 

does, who bequeaths something to his heirs, that he may 

leave bdiind him a good name, the good will of men and a 

blessed memory, that he be not forgotten. 

BcwOa 13. From all this it is now easily seen what the mass is, 

2£^ how one should prepare himself for it, how observe and how 

k* Re- use it, and how many are the abuses of it. For just as one 

'^'*** would act if ten thousand gulden were bequeathed him 

by a good friend : so, and with far more reason, we ought to 

conduct ourselves toward the mass, which is nothing else 

than an exceeding rich and everlasting and good testammt 

bequeathed us by Christ Himself, and bequeathed in such 

wise that He would have had no other reascm to die exc^t 

that He wished to make such a testament; so fervently 

desirous was He to pour out His et^nal treasures, as He 

»:t5 says: "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with 


Treatise on the New Testament 303 

you before I die." Hence, too, it comes that in s[ute of 
many masses we remain so blind and cold, for we do not 
know what the mass is, what we do in it, nor what we get 
frran it. 

Since then it is nothing ebe than a testament, the first Fsitt 
and by far the best [nr^iaration for the mass is a hungry %^ 
soul and a firm joyful faith of the heart accepting such a di« Tna 
testament Who would not go with great and joyful desire, ^^ 
hope and comfort, and demand a thousand gulden, 
if he knew that at a certain place they had been bequeathed 
him; e^>ecially if tbere were no other condition than that 
he remember, honor, and pnuse the testator? So, in this 
matter, you must above all else take heed to your heart, 
that you believe the words of Christ, and admit thdr 
truth, i^en He says to you and to all: "This is My blood, 
a new testament, by which I bequeath you forgiveness of 
all sins and eternal life." How onild you do Him greater 
dishonor and show greater disrespect to the holy mass 
than by not believing or by doubting? For He desired this 
to be 90 certain that He Himself even died for it. Surely 
such doubt would be nau^t else than denying and blas- 
pheming Christ's sufferings and death, and every blessing 
which He has thereby obtained. 

14. For this reason, I have said, everything depends 
upon the words of this sacrament, which are the words of 
Christ, and which we verily should set in pure gold and pre- 
dous stones, and keep nothing more diligenUy before the 
^es of the heart, that faith be exercised thereby. Let 
another pray, fast, go to confession, prepare himself 
for mass and the sacrament as he will. Do thou the same, 
but know that all that is pure fool's-work and self-decep- 
tion, if you do not set before you the w<»:ds of the testa- 
ment and arouse yourself to believe and deare them. A 
kmg time would you have to polish your shoes, pick the 
Hnt* off your clothes, and deck yourself out to get an m- 

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304 TrattiBa on flie ITew Testament 

heritance, if you had no letter and seal with which you could 
prove your right to it. But if you have letter and seal, and 
believe, desire, and seek it, it must be given you, even 
though you were scaly, scabby, stinking and most tmclean. 
So if you would receive this sacrament and testament 
worthily, see to it that you bring forward these living words 
of Christ, rely thereon with a strong faith, and desire what 
Christ has therein promised you: then it will be given you, 
then are you worUiy and well prepared. This faith and 
confidence must and will make you joyful, and awaken 
a bold love for Christ, by means of which you will begin 
with joy to lead a really good life and with all your heart to 
flee from sin. For he who loves Christ will surely do what 
pleases Him, and leave undone what does not please Him. 
But who will love Him except he taste the riches of this 
testament which Christ, out of pure mercy, has freely be- 
queathed to poor sinners? This taste comes by the faith 
which believes and trusts the testament and promise. If 
Abraham had not believed the promise of God he would 
never have amounted to anything. Just as certainly, 
then, as Abraham, Noah, and David accepted and bdieved 
their promises: so <xrtainly must we also accept and be- 
heve this testament and promise. 
Who !• 15. Now there are two temptations which never cease 
Worthy j^ assail you; the first, that you are entirely unworthy of 
so rich a testament, the second, that even were you worthy, 
the blessing is so great that human nature is terrified by 
the greatness of it; for what do not forgiveness of all sin 
and eternal life bring with them? If either of these temp- 
tations comes to you, you must, as I have said, esteem the 
words of Christ more than such thoughts. It will not be 
He that lies to you; your thoughts will be deceiving you. 
Just as thou^ a poor beggar, yea, a very knave, were 
bequeathed a thousand gulden: he would not demand 
them because of his merit or worthiness, nor fail to claim 
them because of the greatness of the sum; and if any one 
should cast up to him his unworthiness and the greatness 


Treatise on flu New Testament 305 

of thi sum, be would certainly not allow anything of that 
sort to frighten him, but would say : "What is that to you? 
I know full well tbat I am unworthy of the inheritance; I 
do not demand it on my merits, as though it had been due 
me, but on the favor and grace of the testatco'. If he did 
not tbink it too much to bequeath to me, why should I 
so despise myself and not claim and take it?" So also must 
a timid, dejected conscience insist, against its own thoughts, 
upon the testament of Christ, and be stubborn in firm 
faith, de^ite its own unworthiness and the greatness 
of the blessing. For this very reason that which brings 
to such unworthy ones so great a blessing is a divine testa- 
ment, by which God desires above all things to awaken 
love to Him. So Christ comforted those dejected ones 
who thought the blessing too great and said: "Faint- Luke 
hearted little flock, fear not; it hath pleased your Father to "^' 
give you the eternal Kingdom." 

16. But see now what they have made of the mass! In AbuM 
the first place, they have hidden these words of the testa- ^mi' 
ment, and have taught that they are not to be spoken to the i. The 
laity, that they are secret words to be spoken in the mass ^m*" 
only by the priest. Has not the devil here in a masterly way oi ihi 
stolen from us the chief thing in the mass and put it to ^"^^ 
silence? For who has ever heard it preached that one 
should give heed in the mass to these words of the testa^ 
ment and insist upon them with a firm faith? And yet 
this should have been the chief thing. Thus they have 
been afraid, and have taught us to be afraid, where there 
is no cause for fear, nay, where all our comfort and safety 

How many miserable consciences, which perished from 
fear and sorrow, could have been comforted and rescued 
by these words! What devil has told them that the words 
which should be the most familiar, the most openly ^xtken 
among all Christians, priests and laity, men and women, 
young and old, are to be hidden in greatest secrecy? How 
should it be possible for us to know what the mass is, or 

3o6 Treatise tm the New Testament 

how to use and observe it, if we are not to know the words 
in which the very mass consists?* 

But would to God that we Germans could say mass in 
German, and sing these "most secret" words loudest of all! 
Why should not we Germans say mass in our own language, 
when the Latins, Greeks and many others observe mass in 
their language? Why should we not also keep secret the 
Uatt. words of baptism: "I baptise thee in the name of the 
'*■'" Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen"? If 
every one may speak in German, and aloud, these words, 
which are no less the holy Word and promise of God, why 
should not every one also be permitted to hear and speak 
those words of the mass aloud and in German? 

17. Let us learn, then, that in every covenant* of God 
there are two things which one must consider; these are 
'*f%^ Word and Sign. In baptism these are the words of the 
1 tha baptiser and the dipping in water.* In the mass they are 
*^ the words and the bread and wine. The words are the 
divine covenant, promise and testament. The signs are 
sacraments, that is sacred signs. Now since the testa- 
ment is far more important than the sacrament, so the 
words are much more important than the signs. For the 
signs might be lackii^, if only one have the words, and thus 
one mi^t be saved without sacrament, yet not without 
testament. For I can daily enjoy the sacrament in the 
mass, if I only keep before my eyes the testament, that is, 
the words and covaiant of Christ, and feed and strengthen 
my faith thereby. 

We see, then, that the best and greatest part of all 
sacraments and of the mass is the words and covenant of 
God, without which the sacraments are dead and are noth- 
ing at all; like a body without a soul, a cask without wine, a 
purse without gold, a type without fulfilment, a letter 

■Dftrinnen die Hesse ileht and sehl. 
■GelDbde, iitently "row." 

■ On tbe node of baptism see the Treatise on Baptism in this Tohtmc 
Cf.Smali Catech]im,P«rtIV,4.Mid Lftrte Catccfalin. PwtlV. 


TreatiBe on tiie New Testunent 307 

without spant, a sheath without a knife, and the like; 
whence it is true that when we use, hear, or see the mass 
without the words or testament, and look only to the sacra- 
ment and sign, we do not even half keep the mass. For 
sacrament without testament is keeping the case without 
the jewel, quite an unequal separation and division. 

18. Ifear, therefore, that there is at present more idolatry Tin 
in Christendom through the masses than ever occurred '^^' 
among the Jews. For we hear nowhere that the mass is l«norad 
directed toward the feeding and strengthening of faith, 

for which alone it was ordained by Christ, but is only used 
as a sacrament without the testament. 

Many have written of the fruits of the mass, and indeed 
have greatly exalted them; nor do I question the value of 
these fruits. But take heed that you regard them atl, 
compared to this one thing, as the body compared to the 
soul. God has here prepared for our faith a pasture, table Pi- 23 
and feast; but faith is (ed. with nothing except the Word of 
God alone. Therefore you must take heed above all 
things to the words, exalt them, highly esteem them, and 
hold them fast; then you will have not simply the little 
drops of blessing' that drip from the mass, but the very 
head-waters of faith, from which springs and flows all that 
is good, as the Lord says in John vii, "Whosoever believeth John 7:38 
in Me, out of his belly shall flow streams of Kving water"; 
again: "Whosoever shall drink of the water which I give, JoHn 
he shall never thirst, and there shall be in him a spring of *''*''* 
living water unto everlasting life." We see, then, the first 
abuse of the mass is this — that we have lost the chief bless- 
ing, to wit, the testament and the faith. What conse- 
quences this has had we now shall see. 

19. It follows of necessity, where faith and the Word or 
promise of God decline or are neglected, that there arise 
in their place works and a false, presumptuous trust in 
them. For where there is no promise of God there is no 


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3o8 Treatise on flte New Testament 

faith. Where there is no faith, there everyone presumptu- 
ously undertakes to better himself by means of works, and 
to make himself well-pleasing to God. When this happens, 
false security and presumption arise therefrom, as diough 
man were well-pleasing to God because of his own works. 
When this does not happen, the consdence has no rest, 
and knows not what to do, that it may become well- 
pleasing to God. 
AbuM So too I fear that many have made out of the mass a 
HMa: So^ work, whereby they thought to do a great service to 
a- Th» Ahnighty God. Now, if we have rightly understood what 
Q^ * has been said above, namely, that the mass is nothing else 
Work than a testament and sacrament, in which God pledges 
Himself to us and gives us grace and mercy, I think it is 
not fitting that we should make a good work or merit out 
of it. For a testament is not beneficium accep- 
tum, sed datum;* it does not derive benefit from 
us, but brings us benefit. Who has ever heard that he who 
receives an inheritance does a good work? He does derive 
benefit. Likewise in the mass we give Christ nothing, 
but only take from Him; unless they are willing to call this 
a good work, that a man be quiet and permit himself to be 
benefited, to be given food and drink, to be clothed and 
healed, helped and redeemed. Just as in baptism, in which 
there is also a divine testament and sacrament, no one 
gives God anything or does Him a service, but instead 
takes something; so too in all the other sacraments, and in 
the sermon. For if one sacrament cannot be a meritorious 
good work, then no other can be a work; because they are 
all of one kind, and it is the nature of a sacrament or testa- 
ment that it is not a work, but only an ezerdse of faith. 
^ ^ * ao. It is true, indeed, that when we come together to the 

Con- mass to receive the testament and sacrament, and to 
■J?*^ nourish and strengthen faith, we there offer our praya with 
H«M one accord, and this prayer, which arises out of faith, and is 

* "Vot • bCDcfil recdved, but m beoefit coniennL'' 

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Treatise oo the New Testament 309 

for the increase of faith, is truly a good work; and we also 
distribute alms among the poor; as was done aforetime when 
the Christians gathered food and other needful thizigs, 
which after the mass were distributed among the needy, 
as we learn from St. Paul. But this work and prayer tCot. n; 
are qtiite another thing than the testament and sacrament, "' " 
whidt no one can offer or give to God or to men, but every 
one takes and receives of it for himself only, in proportion 
as he believes and trusts. Now just as I cannot receive or 
give the sacrament of baptism, of penance, or of extreme 
unction in any one's stead or for his benefit, but I take for 
myself alone the blessing therdn offered by God, and there 
is here not officium, but benef icium, i. e., not 
work or service, but reception and benefit alone; so also, 
no one can say or hear mass for another, but each one for 
himself alone, for it is purely a taking and receiving. 

This is all «i^y tmderstood, if one only considers what the 
mass really is, namely, a testament and sacrament; that 
is, God's Word and promise, together with a sacred ^gn, 
the bread and the wine, under which Christ's body and 
blood are truly present. For by what process of reason- 
ii^ could a man be said to do a good work for another 
when, like the others, he comes as one in need, and takes 
to himself the words and sign of God in which God promises 
and grants him grace and help? Surely, to receive God's 
Word, sign, and grace is not the imparting of good, or the 
doing of a good work, but is simply a "taking to one- 

21. Now, since the whole world has made a sacrifice of AbtwM 
the mass, wherein they bring an offering to God, which uu*. 
without doubt is the third and very worst abuse, we must 3- Th* 
dearly distinguish between what we offer and what we do ^ |^^ 
not offer in the mass. ftc* 

Beyond all doubt the word "offering" in the mass has 
arisen and has remained until now, because in the times 
of the Apostles, when stmie of the practices of the Old 
Testament were still observed, the Christians brought food, 


310 Tiestise oa tlie New Testament 

money and necessities, which were distributed in connec- 
tion with mass among the needy, as I have said before.' 
Acts 4: For so we still read in Acts iv, that the Christians sold all 
^*- ^^ that they had, and brought it to the feet of the Apostles, 
who then had it distributed and gave of the common pos- 
Rom. sessions to every one as he needed. Even so the Apostle 
t cSc''io: ^*^ teaches, that all food and whatsoever we use shall be 
$0. ii blessed with prayer and the Word of God, and thanks be 
given to God therefor; hence we say the Benedicite 
and Gratias* at table. Thus it was the custom of the 
Eiod. Old Testament, when men thanked God for gifts received, 
n^'m; ^^^ ^*y ^^^ them up in their hands to God; as is 
19, » written in the law of Moses. Therefore, the apostles also 
lifted up the offerings in this way, thanked God, and 
blessed, with the Word of God, food and whatever the 
Luke Christians gathered. And Christ Himself, as St. Luke 
'"^ writes, lifted up the cup, gave thanks to God, drank of it, 
and gave to the others, before He instituted the sacra< 
ment and testament. 
TiiB Col- 22. Traces of this usage have survived in three customs. 
^^^ The first, that the first and last prayer of the mass are 
called "collects," that is, "collections"; which indicates 
that these prayers were spoken as a blessing and thanks- 
giving over the food wbidi had been collected, to bless it 
1 Cor. to: and give thanks to God, according to the teaching of St. 
^ ^' Paul. The second, when the people after the Gog)el 
proceed to the offering; from which the chant which is 
sung at that time is called "Offertory," that is, an offering. 
The third, that the priest elevates in the paten and offers 
to God the still unblessed host, at the same time that the 
offertory is being sung and the people are making their 
offering; by which b shown that the sacrament is not offered 
to God by us, but only these "collects" and offerings of food 
and gifts that have been gathered, in order that God may 

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Treatise on fba New Testament 311 

be thanked for them, and they may be blessed, to be dis- 
tributed to the needy. 

For afterward, when the priest, in the "low mass,"' ele- 
vates the blessed host and cup, there is not a word said 
about the sacrifice, where he should most of all make 
mention of the sacrifice, if the mass were a sacrifice: but, 
as I have said above,' he elevates it not toward God, but 
toward us, to remind us of the testament, and to incite us 
to faitl) in the same. In like manner, when he receives or 
administers the sacrament, he does not mentioa the sacri- 
fice by a single word ; which must and should be done were 
the sacrament a sacrifice. Therefore, the mass dare not 
and cannot be called or be a sacrifice because of the sacra- 
ment, but only because of the food vbich is gathered and 
the prayer with which God is thanked and with which it 
is blessed. 

33. Now the custom of gathering food and money at the Th* 
mass has fallen into disuse, and not more than a trace of ^ ^^ 
it remains in the offering of the pfennig on the high HBM 
festivals, and especially on Easter Day, when they still 
bring cakes, meat, eggs, etc., to church to be blessed. 
Now in place of such offerings and collections, endowed 
churches, monastic houses and hospitals have been erected, 
and should be maintained for the sole purpose that the 
needy in every dty may be given all they need, that there 
be no beggar or needy one among the Christians, but that 
each and all may have from the mass enough for body and 

But all this is reversed. Just as the mass is not rightly 
explained to men, but is imderstood as a sacrifice, not as a 
testament, so, on the other hand, that which is and ought 
to be the offering, namely, the possessions of the churches 
and monastic houses, is no longer offered and is not given, 
with the thanksgiving and blessing of God, to the needy 
to whom it ought to be given. Therefore God is provoked 

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312 Treatise oo flie New TeiUment 

to anger, and now permits the possessions of the churches 
and monastic houses to become the occasion of war, of 
worldly pomp, and of such abuse that no other blessing is 
so shamefully and blasphemously managed and wasted. 
And sin<x it does not serve the poor, for whom it was ap- 
pointed, it is indeed meet and right that it should remain 
unworthy to serve for anything but sin and shame. 
Tk* 34, Now if you ask what is left in the mass to give it 

n^ the name of a sacrifice, since so much is said in the Office 
SmiUm about the sacrifice, I answer: Nothing is left. For, to be 
brief and to the point, we must let the mass be a sacra- 
ment and testament, and this is not and cannot be a sac- 
rifice any more than the other sacraments — baptism, 
confirmation, penance, extreme unction, etc. — are sacri- 
fices.^ Otherwise we should lose the Gospel, Christ, the 
comfort of the sacrament and every grace of God. There- 
fore we must separate the mass clearly and distinctly from 
the prayers and ceremonies which have been added by the 
holy fathers, and keep the two as far apart as heaven and 
earth, that the mass may remain nothing else than the testa- 
ment and sacrament comprehended in the words of Christ. 
What there is over and beyond these words we are to 
regard, in comparison with the words of Christ, as we regard 
the monstrance* and corporal* in comparison with the host 
and the sacrament itself; and these we regard as nothing 
but additions for the reverent and seemly administration 
of the sacrament. Now just as we regard the monstrance, 
corpora] and altar<loths compared with the sacrament, so 
we are to look upon all added words, works and ceremonies 
of the mass compared with the words of Christ Himself, 
in which He gives and ordains this testament. For if the 
mass or sacrament were a sacrifice, we would have to say 
that it is a mass and sacrifice when the sacrament is 

>Lutber ■! this period itill MbiowUdces terea ncimiiienta. But tee the 
BabyloniiD Cftptivlty, written in October, 1510. 

* The receptacle b whicfa the ccnuecrated btnt ii ihomi to the people. 

* The coiponl-clolh ipread over tlie altu dmlDi the nmmuuioo Mn>ice. 


Treatise on the New Testament 313 

brought to the sick in their home, or when those in health 
receive it in the church, and that there are as many masses 
and sacrifices as the number of those who approach the 
sacrament. If in this case it is not a sacrifice, how is it a 
sacrifice in the hand of the priest, since it is still one and the 
same sacrament, one and the same use, one and the same 
benefit, and in all respects the same sacrament and testa- 
ment with all of us P 

25. We should, therefore, give careful heed to this word nw 
"sacrifice," that we do not presume to give God something sSiiit* 
in the sacrament, when it is He who therein gives us all in ii>« 
things. We should bring spiritual sacrifices, since the *** 
external sacrifices have ceased and have been changed into 
the gifts to churches, monastic houses and charitable in- 
stitutions. What sacrifices then are we to offer? Our- 
selves, and all that we have, with constant prayer, as we 
say: "Thy will be done on earth as in heaven." Where- Urtt 
by we are to yield ourselves to the will of God, that He may *"" 
do with us what He wiU, according to His own pleasure ; in 
addition, we are to offer Him praise and thanksgiving with 
our whole heart, for His unspeakable, sweet grace and 
mercy, which He has promised and given us in this sacra- 
ment. And although such a sacrifice occurs apart from the 
mass, and should so occur, for it does not necessarily and 
essentially belong to the mass, as has been said,* yet it is 
more precious, more seemly, more mighty and also more ac- 
ceptable when it takes place with the multitude and in the 
assembly where men provoke, move and inflame one an- 
other to press dose to God, and thereby attain without all 
doubt what they de^re. 

For so has Christ promised; where two are gathered to- Matt. 18: 
gether in His name tiiere He is in the midst of them, and '^ ^ 
where two agree on earth as touching anything that they 
shall ask, all shall be done that they ask. How much more 
shall they obtain what they ask, when a whole city comes to- 
gether to praise God and to pray with one accord! We 

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314 Treatise on the New Testunent 

would not need many indulgence-letters if we proceeded 
aright in this matter. Souls also would easily be redeemed 
from purgatory and innumerable blessings would follow. 
But, alas I that is not the way it goes. Everythingis reversed ; 
what the mass is intended to do, we take upon m and 
want to do ourselves; what we ought to do we give over to 
the mass. All this is the work of unlearned, false preachers. 
36. To be sure, this sacrifice of prayer, praise and thanks- 
giving, and of ourselves, we are not to present before God 
in our own person, but we are to lay it on Christ and let 
Hd>. Him present it, as St. Paul teaches in Hebrews xiii: "Let 
*^"* us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, 
the fruit of the lips which confess Him and praise Him," 
and all this through Christ For Ss is also a priest, as 
P*- ni>:4 Psabn CI says: "Thou art a priest forever siter ihe order 
10^ etc **^ Melchizedek"; because He intercedes for us in heaven, 
receives our prayer and sacrifice, and through Himself, as 
a godly priest, makes them pleasing to God, as St. Paul 
Hcb. g:i4 says again in Hebrews ix: "He is ascended into Heaven to 
Rom 8:j4 be a mediator in the presence of God for us"; and: "It is 
Christ Jesus that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, Who 
is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh inter- 
cession for us." 
Chritt From these words we learn that we do not offer Christ as 
^^. a sacrifice, but that Christ offers us. And in this way it is 
Chrii- permissible, yea, profitable, to call the mass a sacrifice, not 
^^^ on its own account, but because we offer ourselves as a sacri- 
fice along with Christ; that is, we lay ourselves on Christ 
by a firm faith in His testament, and appear before God 
with our prayer, praise and sacrifice only throu^ Him 
and through His mediation ; and we do not doubt that He 
is our priest and minister in heaven before God. Such 
faith, forsooth, brings it to pass that Christ takes up our 
cause, presents us, our prayer and praise, and also offers 
Himself for us in heaven. If the mass were so understood 
and therefore called a sacrifice, it would be well. Not that 
we offer the sacrament, but that by our praise, prayer and 

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Treatise oa die New Testament 315 

sacrifice we move Him aod ^ve Him occasion to offer 
Himself for us in heaven, and ourselves with Him. As 
though I were to say, I had brought a king's son to his 
father as an offering, when, indeed,! had done no more than 
induce that son to present my need and petition to the 
king, and made the son my mediator. 

37. Few, however, understand the mass in this way. Ai 
For they suppose that only the priest offers the mass as a ^^^ 
sacrifice before God, although this is done and should be PiiMts 
done by everyone who receives the sacrament^ yea, also by 
those who are present at the mass and do not receive the 
sacrament. Furthermore, such offering of sacrifice every 
Christian may make, wherever he is and at all times, as 
St. Paul says: "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise con- H*. 
tmiially through Him," and Psalm ex: "ITiou art a priest p^'^,"^^ 
forever." If He is a priest forever, then He is at all tunes 
a priest and is offering sacrifices without ceasing before 
God. But we cannot be continually the same, and there- 
fore the mass has been instituted that we may there come 
together and offer such sacrifice in common. 

Sut let him who understands the mass otherwise or 
uses it otherwise than as a testament and sacrifice of this 
kind take heed how he tmderstands it. I understand it, as 
has been said, to be really nothing else than this, that we re- 
ceive the testament and at the same time admonish our< 
selves and be minded to strengthen our faith and not 
doubt that Christ is our priest in heaven, who offers Him- 
self for us without ceasing and presents us and our prayer 
and praise, and makes them acceptable; just as though 
I were to offer the human priest as a sacrifice in the mass 
and appoint him to present my need and my praise of God, 
aod he were to give me a token that he would do it. In this 
case I would be offering the priest as a sacrifice; and it is 
in this wise that I offer Christ, in that I desire and be- 
lieve that He accepts me and my prayer and praise, and 
presents it to God in His own person, and to strengthen 
this faith, gives me a token that He will do it. This tdten 

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3i6 TraatiM on the New Testament 

is the sacrament of bread and wine. Thus it becomes 
dear that it is not the priest alone who offers the sacrifice 
of the mass, but every one's faith, which is the true priestly 
office, through which Christ is offered as a sacrifice to God. 
This office the priest, with the outward ceremonies of the 
^^jj*' mass, simply represents. Each and all are, therefore 
I Pet. a« eqiially spiritual priests before God. 
p«itii 28. From this you can see for yourself that there are 

^n^ir many who rightly observe mass and make this sacrifice, 
Offlc* who themselves know nothing about it, nay, who do not 
realize that they are priests and can obsove mass. Again, 
there are many who take great pains and apply themselves 
with all diligence, thinking that they are keeping the mass 
properly and offering a right sacrifice, and yet there is 
nothing right about it. For all those who have the faith 
that Christ is a priest for them in heaven before God, and 
who lay on Him thdr prayers and praise, their need and 
their whole selves, and present them through Him, not 
doubting that He does this very thing, and offers Himself 
for them, these take the sacrament and testament, out- 
wardly or spiritually, as a sign of all this, and do not doubt 
that all sin is thereby foigiven, that God has become their 
gradous Father and that everlasting life is prepared for 

All such, then, wherever they may be, are true priests, 
observe the mass aright and also obtain by it what they 
deare. For faith must do everything. It alone is the 
true priestly office and permits no one else to take its place. 
Tlierefore all Christians are priests; the men, priests, 
the women, priestesses, be they young or old, masters or 
servants, mistresses or maids, learned or imleamed. 
Here there is no difference, imless faith be unequal. Again, 
all who do not have such faith, but presume to make much 
of the mass as a sacrifice, and perform this office bdore 
God, are figure-heads. They observe mass outwardly 
and do not themsdves know what they are doing, and 
cannot be well pleasing to God. For without true faith 


TieatiBe on the Kew TeBtameat 317 

it is imposdble to please Him, as St. Paul says in Hebrews 

xi. Now there are many who, hidden in their hearts, have HA. 11:6 

such true faith, and themselves know not of it; many there 

are who do not have it, and of this, too, they are unaware. 

39. It has become a wide-spread custom to found Humc 
masses for the dead, and many books have been written ^^ 
about it. If we ask now, Of what benefit are the masses 
celebrated for the souls which are kept in purgatory? the 
answer is: What is custom I God's Word must prevail 
and remain true, to wit, that the mass is nothing else than 
a testament and sacrament of God, and cannot be a good 
work or a sacrifice, although it may be taken to include 
sacrifice and good works, as was said above.* 

lliere is no doubt, therefore, that whoever observes mass 
without the faith aforementioned benefits neither himself 
nor any one else. For the sacrament in itself, without 
faith, does nothing-, nay, God Himself, Who indeed doeth 
all things, does and can do good to no one unless he firmly 
believes Him; how much less can the sacrament. It is 
easy to say, a mass is effective whether it be performed by a 
pious or a wicked priest, that it is acceptable opere 
opera ti, not opere operantis.* But to produce 
no other argument except that many say this, and it has 
become a custom, is poor proof that It is right. Many 
have praised pleasures and riches and have grown accus- 
tomed to them; that does not make them right; we should 
produce Scripture or reason for it. Therefore let us take 
heed lest we be made fools. I cannot concdve that the 
institution of so many masses and requiems can be without 
abuse, especially since all this is done as a good work and 
sacrifice by which to pay God, whereas in the mass there 
is nothing else than the reception and enjoyment of divine 

' See pp. joB t., jii ff. 

* It k tbc teachbis of the Soman Church that ■ ncnment ia (Sective e z * 

opere operato, i. c, limply ta a Mcrainent ordained of God. Intended 
to gnsnl asahut the Idea that tbe validity ol the aacnunenl depended on the chai^ 
BctcT of tbe priest or of the redpieat, it gave me ta ~ 
irort:ed a loit of sacred magic. 

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3i8 Treatise OD the New Tectunent 

grace, promised and given us in His testament and sacra^ 

30. I will j^adly agree that the faith which I have called^ 
the true priestly office, which makes of us all priests and 
priestesses, through which in connectitm with the sacra- 
ment we offer ourselves, our need, prayer, praise and thanks- 
giving in Christ and throu^ Christ, and thereby offer 
Christ before God, that is, give Him cause and move Him 
to offer Himself for us and us with Himself — this faith, I 
say, is truly able to do all things in heaven, earth, hell and 
purgatory, and to this faith no one can ascribe too much. 
And as I have said above,* if Christ promises to two per- 
sons the answers to all their prayers, how much more may 
' so many obtain from Him what they desire! 

I know full well that some will be very ready to call me 
a heretic in this. But, dear fellow, you should also con- 
ader whether you can prove as easily as you slander. I 
have read all that, and I know the books on which you 
rely, so you need not think I do not know your art. But 
I say that your art has no foundation, and that you can- 
not defend it, and that out of a sacrament or testament of 
God you will never make a sacrifice or a work of satisfac- 
tion, and, indeed, satisfaction itself is more of a human than 
a divine law.* 

Therefore my advice is, let us hold fast to that which is 
sure* and let the uncertain go; that is, if we would help 
these poor souls in pui^tory or any one else, let us cot 
take the risk of relying upon the mass as a sufficient work, 
but rather come together to mass, and with priestly faith* 
present every besetting need, in Christ and with Christ, 
praying for the souls [of the departed], and not doubting 
that we will be heard. Thus we may be sure that the soul 

'See p. 316. 
» See p. 313. 
■ Ct. XCV Tbean pp. tg, tt. 

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TnntiBe on the New Testament 319 

is redeemed. For the faith which rests on the promise of 
Christ never deceives nor fails. 

31. So we read that St. Monica, St Augustine's mother, The 
on her death-bed, desired to be remembered in the mass.' ^"sJ^ 
If the mass were sufficient of itself to help everyone, r«nieM 
what need would there be for faith and prayer? But 
you might say, if this is true, anyone might observe mass 
and offer such a sacrifice, even in the open fields. For 
every one may indeed have such a faith in Christ in the 
open fields, and offer and commit to Him his prayer, 
praise, need and cause, to bring it before God in heaven, 
and besides he may also think of the sacrament and testa- 
ment, heartily desire it, and in this way spiritually receive 
it. For he who desires it and believes, receives it spir- 
itually, as St. Augustine teaches.* 

What need is there then to observe mass in the churches? 
I answer: It is true, such faith is enough, and truly accom- 
plishes everything, but how could you think of this faith, 
sacrifice, sacrament and testament if it were not visibly ad- 
ministered in certain designated places and churches? 
The same is true in the case of baptism and absolution, 
although faith is sufficient without them, where no more 
can be done; still if there were no place for their administra- 
tion,, who could think of them and believe in them, or who 
coxild know or say anything of them? Moreover, since God 
has so ordered this sacrament, we must not despise it, but 
recdve it with great reverence, praise and gratitude. 
For if there were no other reason why we should observe 
mass outwardly and not be satisfied with inward faith 
alone, yet were this suffident, that God so orders and wills 
it. And His will ought to please us above all things and 
be sufficient reason to do or omit anything. 

There is also this advantage: ance we are still living in 
the flesh and are not all perfect enough to rule ourselves 

■ Confesaiont of St. Auffustine, Book IX, Clupter XI. 

* This is the vot tun b s c t > m e n t i , whSdi, Bcoording to Roman teacfains, 
aiffices fat ulvatlon if pottic^tioii io tbe Mctanent b impoiaible. 


320 Treatise oa liie New TeBtament 

in spirit, we need to come together to enkindle such a faith 
in one another by example, prayer, praise, and thanl^^v- 
ing, as I have said above,' and through the outward seeing 
and receiving of the sacrament and testament to move 
each other to the increase of this faith. There are many 
saints, who like St. Paul the Hermit,* remained for years 
in the desert without mass, and yet were never without 
mass. But such a high spiritual example cannot be imi- 
tated by everyone or by the whole Church. 
"^^ 33** But the chief reason for outwardly holding mass is 

JJ^' the Word of God, which no one can do without, and which 
tnaHon must daily be used and studied. Not only because every 
^0^ <lay Christians are bom, baptised and trained, but because 
we live in the midst of the world, the flesh and the devil, 
who do not cease to tempt us and drive us into sin, against 
which the most powerful weapon is the holy Word of God, 
Epb. 6:17 as St. Paul also calls it, "a spiritual sword," which is power- 
ful against all sin. This the Lord indicated when He in- 
stituted the mass and said: "This do in remembrance of 
Luke Me"; as though He said, "As often as you use this sacrament 
"■'"* and testament you shall preach of Me," As also St. Paul 
I Cot. says in I. Corinthians xi, "As oft as ye eat this bread and 
"'^ drink this cup ye shall preach and proclaim the death 
Pi. 101; of the Lord until He come"; and Psidm cii, "They shall 
*'■ *' declare the glory of the Lord in Zion and His praise in 
Jerusalem, as often as the kings (that is, the bishops and 
rulers) and the people come together to serve the lord"; 
p». 111:4. and Psahn ori, "He hath instituted a memorial of His 
' wonders in that He has given meat to all who fear 

In these passages you see how the mass was instituted 
to preach and praise Christ, to glorify His sufferings and 
all His grace and goodness, that we may be moved to love 

' See p. 313. 

* Paul ol Thebes in Egyptlui hcnnit of the m. Ccotuiy, wboK lite wu wl^ttea 
by St. JemnK. 

* Hie trauUton have followed the nambering of the teit In the W e 1 d ■ t ■nl 
ErlaDgcn Editions, which omit No. 31 hi n — ' — >--*■- — 

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Treatise on die New Testament 321 

Him, hope and believe in Him, and thus, in addition to this 
Woid or sermon, leodve an outward ngn, that is, the sacrar 
m^t, to the end that our faith, provided with and con- 
finned by divine words and signs, may become strong 
gainst all an, suffering, death and heU and everything 
that is ^^unst us. And but for the preaching of the Word 
He would nevermore have instituted the mass. He is 
more concerned about the Word than about the sign. For 
the preaching ought to be nothing but an explanation^of 
the words of Christ when He institutes the mass and says: 
"ITiis is My body. This is My blood, etc." What is the 
whole Gospel but an explanation of this testament? Christ 
has comprehended the whole Gospel in a short sununaiy 
with the words of this testam^t or sacrament Fm 
the whole Gospel is nothing but a proclamation of God'a 
grace and of the forgiveness of all sins, granted us through 
the sufferings of Christ, as St. Paul proves in Romans z, Rom. iw 
and Christ in Luke niv. This same thing the words of i^"^' 
this testament contain, as we have seen. *6,a 

34. From this we may see what a pity and ptxversaa 
it is that so many masses are said, and yet the Gospd b 
kqit altogether ^ent. They stand and preach, and give 
to poor souls chaff for wheat, yea, death for life, intending 
afterward to make up for it with many masses. What 
sort of baptism woiild that be, if the water were poured 
upon the child and not a word were said? I fear that the 
holy words of the testament are read so secretly, and kept 
bidden from the laity, because God in His wrath is testi- 
fying thereby that the whole Gospel is no longer publicly 
preached to the pet^le, that even as the summary of the 
Gospel is hidden, so also its public explanation has ceased. 

Next, they took oitirely from us the one element, the n* 
wine, although that does not matter much, for the Word is ^^^ 
more important than the agn. Still, I should like to know of a* 
who gave than the power to do such a thing. In the same ^"^ 
way they mi^t take from us the other element and give 
us the empty monstrance to kiss as a relic, and at last 


332 TxeatiM on die Rew Testunent 

abolish evetything that Christ has instituted. I feai it 
is a figure and type that augurs nothing good in these peril- 
ous, perverted lattet days. It is said that the pope has the 
power to do it; I say tl^t is all fiction, he does not have a 
hair's breadth of power to change what Christ has made; 
and whatever of these things he changes, that he does as 
a tyrant and Antichrist. I should like to hear how they 
will prove iL 

Not that I wish to cause a tuimcdl about it, for I regard 

the Word as mightier than the s^, but I cannot permit 

the outrage when they not only do us wrong, but wish to 

have a ri^t thereto, and force us not only to permit such 

a wrong, but also to praise it as rig^t and good. Let them 

do what they will, so long as we are not obliged to acknowl- 

j<4ui edge wrong as right. It is enough that we permit ourselves, 

' '" with Christ, to be smitten on the cheek, but it is not for us 

to praise it, as though th^ had done well therein and earned 

God's lewaid. 

Snpo- 35. But what of those poor priests and laymoi who have 

v»t^ deputed so Ear from the true meaning of the mass and of 

OieMua faith that theyhave even madcof it asortofmflgic? Some 

men have masses said that they may become rich and 

prosper in their business, others because they think if 

they hear mass in the morning they will be safe during 

the day from all danger and want; some, again, on account 

of ^ckness; others for still more foolish, yea, even sinful 

reasons, and yet they find priests perverted enough to 

take their money and do their biddii^. 

i>iiflnc- Furthermore, they have now made one mass better than 

Ut—w anotber; one is valued as useful for this, another for that. 

Hius th^ have made seven "Golden Masses."* The 

"Mass of the Holy Cross" has come to have a different 

virtue from the "Mass of Our Lady." In this matter 

every one is silent and pennits the people to go on for the 

sake of the cursed, filthy pfennigs, which through these 

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Treatise on ttw New TcBtament 313 

various titles and virtues of the mass come piling in. 

So must faith, like Christ, be sold by its Judas, that is, n,t^ ,5. 

by covetousness and the thirst for money. 15. ifi 

Some are to be found also who have mass sud privately, u»m- 
for this andfor that; in short,the mass must do aU kinds of ^mm» 
things, except its own peculiar work — ^faith, which no one 
regards. Tliey now are the best men on earth who have 
many masses said, as though they thought thereby to lay 
up many good works. All of this is the work of ignorance, 
which does not separate the hymns and prayers, which have 
been added, from the true, original mass. For one mass 
is like another and there is no difference, except in the 
faith. For the mass is best to him who believes most, 
and it serves only to increase faith, and for nothing else. 
True, indeed, the added prayers do serve, one this purpose, 
another that, according to the meaning of their words, 
but they are not the mass or the sacrament. 

36. I would advise then, that where the masses are not R«teo- 
directed toward such faith, they be abolished, and that ^^ 
there be fewer masses endowed for the souls of the dead. Hvmbw 
Truly we provoke God to anger with them more than ^„,„ 
we condhate Him. To what purpose are the priests in 
the chapter houses and cloisters so strictly bound to ob- 
serve the yearly' masses, since they are not only without 
such faith, but also are often of necessity imfit. Christ 
Himself did not desire to bind anyone thereto and left us 
wholly free when He said: "This do ye, as oft as ye do it, i Cor. m 
in remembrance of Me." And we men bind ourselves so '^ 
fast and drive ourselves on against our own consdence. I 
see too that such an institution often has no good reason, 
but a secret greed is at the bottom of the obligation and 
that we burden ourselves with many masses in order that 
we may have sufficient inonne in temporal things; after- 
ward we say that we do it for God's sake. I fear few would 
be found who gratuitously and for God's sake would thus 

ly d ■ r thnni^iaut tbe year. 


324 Treatise on tiie Rew Testunent 

buiden themselves. But if all these masses are obsn^ed 
in the faith above mentioned, which I scarcely expect, 
they are to be tolerated. But ii not, then it would be best 
that there be only one mass a day in a city, and that it 
be held in a proper manner in the presence of the assonbled 
people. If at any time, however, we desire to have more, 
the people should be divided into as many parts as there are 
masses, and each part should be made to attend its own 
mass, there to exerdse their faith and to offer their prayer, 
praise and need in Christ, as was said above.' 
Preptf 37. If, then, the mass is a testament and sacrament in 
^fj^' which the forgiveness of sins and every grace of God are 
tUHaM promised and sealed with a sign, it follows of itself, what is 
the best preparation for it. Without doubt, it is given to 
them that need it and desire it. But who needs forgive- 
ness of sins and God's grace more than just these poor 
miserable consciences that are driven and tormented by 
their sins, are afraid of God's anger and judgment, of death 
and of hell, that would be glad to have a gradous God 
and desire nothing more greatly? These are truly they 
who are wdl-prepared for mass. For them these words 
u*tt have force and meaning, when Christ says: "Take and 
**■" drink, this is My blood, which b shed for you for the remis- 
sion of sins." Where such a soul believes these words, as 
it ou^t, it recdves from the mass all the fruits of the mass, 
that is, peace and joy, and is thus weU and richly fed by 
it in ^irit. But where there is no faith, there no prayer 
helps, nor the hearing of many masses; things can oafy 
Pi. 13:5 become worse. As Psalm xxiii says: "Thou preparest a 
table before me ag^unst all my enonies." Is this not a 
clear passage? What greater enemies are there than dn 
and an evil consdence which at all times fears God's ai^n 
p*. Ill: and never has rest? Again, Fsahn cd says: "He hath 
*'^ made His wonderful works to be remembered and hath 
given meat to them that fear Him." It is certain then that 

■See p. 313 L 


TnaHaa tm flie New Testunent 335 

for bold, omfidcait qiiiits, whose sin does not prick them, '; 
the mass is of no value, for they have as yet no hunger . 
for this food, but are still too full. Hie mass demands 
and must have a hungry soul, which longs for forgiveness 
of sins and divine favor. 

38. But because this de^>air and unrest of conscience n* 
are nothing but an infiimity of faith, the severest malady jH^^ 
which man can have in body and soul, and which cannot Again** 
at once or speedily be cured, it is useful and necessary ^^^ 
that the more restless a man's conscience, the more should Dwib^ 
he approach the sacrament or hear mass, provided that he 
{Hcture to himself therein the Word of God, and feed and 
strengthen his faith by it, and ever see to it that he do not 
make a work or sacrifice of it, but let it remain a testament 

and sacrament, out of which he shall take and enjoy a 
benefit freely and of grace, by which his heart may become 
sweet toward God and obtain a comforting confidence 
toward Him. For so sings the Psalter, Psalm civ, fi- 
"The bread strengtheneth man's heart, and the wine ***■"" 
maketh glad the heart of man." 

39. Some have asked whether the sacrament is to be of- A Smm- 
fered also to the deaf and dumb. Some think it a kindness ^E^im 
to practice a pious fraud upon them, and think they should ud 

be ^ven unblessed wafers. This mockery is not i^ht, and ^'"'''* 
will not please God, Who has made them Christians as 
well as us; and the same thmga are due to them as to us. 
Therefore, if they have sound understanding and can 
show by indubitable signs that they desire it in true 
Cbristiaji devotion, as I have often seen, we should leave 
to the Holy Spirit what is ^s work and not refuse Him 
what He demands. It may be that inwardly they have a 
better understanding and faith than we, and this no one 
should presumptuously oppose. Do we not read of St. 
Cyprian,' the holy martyr, that in Carthage, where he 
was bishop, he gave botii elements to the children, al- 

*BUwp of CutlMfe, died tsS. 

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336 Treatise on tbe New Testameat 

Uuk though that has now ceased, for good reasons? Christ 
"■'^ "' permitted the children to come to Him, and would not sufFo' 
any one to forbid them. And in like manner He has with- 
held His blessings neither from dtunb or blind, nor frcnn 
the lame; why should not His sacrament also be for those 
who heartily and in a Christian spirit desire itP 

Con* 40. Thus we see with how very few laws and works Qirist 

•'"*'°" has weighed down His holy Church, and with how many 
promises He has lifted it up to faith; although now, alas! all 
is turned about, and we are driven by many long and 
burdensome laws and works to bectmie pious; and noth- 

Ifatt ing comes of it. But Christ's burden is light and soon 

"^ produces an abundant piety, which consists in faith and 

iH. 10:31 trust, and fulfils what Isaiah says: "A little perfection 

f^"*^* shaU bring a flood full of aU piety." That burden is 
faith, which is a little thing, to which belong neither laws 
nor works, nay it cuts off all laws and works and fulfils all 
laws and works. Therefore there flows from it nothing 
but rigbteotisness. For so perfect is faith, that without 
any other labor and law, it makes everything that man 
does acceptable and well-pleasing to God. As I have fur- 
ther said of it in my little book "Of Good Works.'" 

Therefore, let us beware of ^ns, but much more of laws 
and good works, and only give heed to the divine promise 
and to faith; then good works will come of themselves. 
To this may God help us. Amen. 

■ S«e •bove, pp. 1S7 S. 

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b, Google 

b, Google 


Ltmn's decUntion of emancipation from the qiiritual pre-cmineoce 
ot tbe Qturcb ol Rome, which, said he, "b proven solely by the emp^ 
papal deoetala of the last four hundred yeus, and against which there stwids 
the testimony of the authentic histoiy of elevoi hundied yean, the text (rf 
Hdy So^iture, and the decree of the Nicme CouncQ," a{)pcaied in print in 
the qtring ot 1519.* It was in the fcnm of a omnter-thed^ to Eck's speaout 
and celebrated "Thirteenth Hiesia." It culminated In the Leipzig Disput»- 
tion in July. 

Before another tumma had passed, this Disputatimi bore maivdoua and 
anlooked-fot fruits. In a series of epochal pamphlets, written in part for 
the dergy, and in part for the newly awakened lai^, Luthet with remoA- 
^le rapidity developed hit new and Bcriptural *"""*''"g on the nature ot 
the Church, on the duties of the state, on the eaaence of the aacramenta, 
and on the inner life of the individual Christian. 

The tractates of ijio, to which that on "The Papacy at Rome" belongs, 
like most of Luther's WTitings, were drawn forth from him in large put 
defensively, under provocatioo from the other side, or by the exigencies td 
the occaaitm. His corrcqxmdenc^ during the first half of 1510 reveals them 
as a result (with fresh causes arising) of the stir at Leipzig. 

Swd Luther (February, 1510), "You cannot make a pen out erf a swotd: 
the Word of God is a sword. I waa unwilling to be forced to come forward 
In public; and the more unwilling I am, the mme I am drawn Into the con- 
test." Widely and eagnly rt«d, these piquant publications made Luther 
the awnkener, the developer, and, as Hamack declares, the quribul center 
of the tef onnatory tbou^t that was now rising to a crids. 

■StiQ earBer. tn U* Resolution! ot the 95 Theses (Roohit 
ZMqutat., etc, Eri.-Ft. Ed. n, m aqq., 137 ■».), Latha had in an Uttorical 
and objective war spoken ot a time lihta the Roman Church had not been 
cxahed above the other chuidies, at least not above tbow ot Cnecei that it was 
thDS ret tn the time at Pop* Gregory I. 

* Lutbei'i Thirteen Theses against fick's Thirteen Theses. Fratn H«it. Luth. 
IHqmt. etc., Eri.-Fr. £A. m, 4 sQd-. >t WN- "Bruder Martin Luther's Div«- 
tadoD und TNifTh iiMifiiny widtf die Ansctiuldl^uiiteti des D. Johann Eck." St. 
Louis Ed. XVm, 718. The oldest print is doubtless one In poascsabm of tkt 
Doivtrsit)' at Halle. 

* JuiuBiy I o. 1 5 n, to SpsUtin ; January s6, to John Lang ; F Aroary J, to Spalatin; 
February iS, to Spalatini April, Alvdd to Luther; May 5, May 17, May 31, June 8, 
and July lOitoSpaktin, withaletterof Jnlyar Aogtut toFetet Moadknus, i«ctcr 
of Ote UoiveniV at Ld|)dg. 


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330 The Piracy at Rome 

Fortmute it ms, tliat the infancy of modem printing Hid the birth of 
- Lutlier wen cootempMvy, and that Lutha tuned to the printing pnw to 
Rucb ta extent In tb&t criUcal period, ttiAt In the dn^ year undo dbctuiiao 
the number of printed Gomu m^i wu doubled. 

Out little book of June 16, 1520, is the eariiest oi his mitiiiKS to |»esaU ft 
f tall outline of hii Iwchlng on the nature of the Christian Churdt. Drivot 
by an antagmlst, to whom his woric ia a rqily, to mite' in Gcnnan Ibr tbe 
laity, Luther gives them a clear and fundamental insight into this burning 
subject. His teachings "which he had just oat year before maintained at 
the Leipzig Disputation aie here unfdded, fdlowed to th^ logical coodn- 
rims and deaiiy presented. "* This flying counter-attack against the 
"famous Romanist at Leipzig" thus becomes, in the judgment (rf KOatlin,* 
"one of the most important of his general doctrinal tieatiBei of that 

Luther's r^y was written in short order during the last two weds in May.* 
It came about in this wise: Eck at the Di^utattoi had driven Luther to 
declare that belief in tbe divine supreriacy of Rome waa not neccawry to 
salvation. Following this, in fall, a Frandscan friar, Augustine von Alvdd, 
had risen to attack Luther and glorify the papacy, having received an ap> 
ptnntment from Adolf, the Bishop of Mersd)urg (who had posted the inhn 
bition on the Ltipdg churches agunst the DisputaticHi),* to write against the 
Reformer. Alveld's work, justifying the divine right of the Apoetolic Chair, 
to all learned men, appeared eariy in May * in the Ladn language, In a fint 
editicffl fun of etron, foDowed quickly by a second edition.' Alvdd at- 
it Luthei to pieces with "seven swords ," of wfaidi the 

I He alluded to the sabject in Us Sennoa no tlie Ban. 

■KiisTLiN, TheolOEr ol Luther, tnadated br Hajr, I, 363- 

•Martin Lutbtr, I, ago- 

*Alvdd's Kcaofi book, Ibe Confutatio Inepli, was do&atalto Oe 
Council and hononUe dduns of the dtjt of I^lpdgeD the ijd at April, and afpeand 
In print in the middle of May. Its nnooth and pcqnilar tonn lima it 
Luthtf to this reply, wldcliwa* put in press before the end of May, aad 
pufalisbed before the end of June. 

* See Luther to Spalatln, July m^ 1510. 

* See Luthn to Spalatin, May j, 1510, "Eiftt tandem batet Au«utfinQs Alvd- 
dcnda cam sua oSs," etc He tharactwlsta Alvdd in this letter, and Rfon to the 
aBBton] It iound b Hdsscn In bis letter to Spalatin of May iTtb- 

'Ttw title i* a* folknn: "Supct apostcAca se~ de. An VideBcct dhdna lit iote nee 
M anqnc pOtif ei qui Papa did cacytus eit. lure dinino In ta ipM pifsidtat, oB 
psrO laudsnda et sacro BibUor. canooe dedando. aedita p. F. AufuMinA Alueldfr 
Ol FiandKanO, tegnlarii (vt didt) ohaefuUiae Meerdotfc Pnuin dae °*'™'^ 
Sancte cnid^ Sa- alq BAIiotll canodi pobH- cfl lectort I cAnttu Lipdcow ad ReuM- 
ends In CUo patiS ft dttm, ■*»" Ado^jhQ pAdpC Ilhiit. I Anhaldt i£ EpiscopB 
Mmn- bait sen." See Super apostolka lede dedacatia ediia pa AufustiiniBi 
AlvtldenianBL,A^i;B.S.C»tiMt, NOtsliche Utknndei^ Ldpaic ifiS. 

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Introdnction 331 

fint WM lectK i«tIo;the ttcooA, cananfca ictlptura;the 
third, verft iclent la (guned through tbeChmch teadtets ftudtcbotu- 
tics); thefouith, pie taa lacra ; thefifth, aanus intellectus; 
the sixth, simplex et pudica aapicDtia; the seventh, p u r a 
et in tegra acientia. 

^ Alveld's miserable jumble, in fdJch the Reformer is aHuded to as a 
"heretic," "lunatic," "wott," Luther was not willing to waste any time 
(despite a threatesisg letter from Aiveld); but jotted down some pt^ts for 
John Lonicer,* who (m June ist published a shaip eipoe^ of the Ldpzig 
Komanist's weaknesses.' Although the monastic authorities at Ldptig, 
fearing Luther, now attempted to suppress Alvdd, that worthy at once came 
out* with a new worit* on the same theme and this time In the Geimao 
language.' It stirred Luther's blood. "If the jadcan^>ea had not issued 
his little book in German to poison the defenceless laity," he said, " I would 
have looked on it as too small a matter to take iq>." As it was, with great 
rqudity he wrote hla " The Phpacy at Rome against the Celelwated 
Romanist at Ldpdg." Going to press In May, the book was completed oa 
the 16th of June. The Iwdve known editions are all quartos and range in 
size ftom twenty-two to thir^-two leaves. The fint* two edititxu were 
printed by Utidaiot Lotthet In Wittenberg; one by Peypus in Nuremberg; 

Spslatiii alnsdj' on May Jth. 

■"Contra aomanlWam fntiem AngnstiDa AlucldeS. Frsii- dscanO Llpdct 
CsDonis Blblid pubUcQ Uctorts toitorti doidem. F. JoUes LooIcoub. Angus- 

* Lcmicer's reptl' had b««n pncedcd by one mote detailed and le* tmpctnoas 
br Benhardi FddUrcb, teacfaw ia the Wttetdtcrg Hich Schocd. Ibii work 
b wnoglr ncitded as Udanditboo'i. lu title ik "CONFVTATIO INEP- U & 
kapii Libelli F. August. AL- VELD. Fiandscaol IJpdd, [ffo D. M. Luthera. 
Vvittsnbeiiae, ^>ud UdcUoron Lottberun iuniofcmt Anno M. D. XX." 

* He tequested the Nnndo HUtits to secoie snthority for him to write. 

* CI. Lather in the Tiactate: "Tbey ding to me Hke mud to a irtiecL" 

* "^n lar frachtbat vA nutsharlkfa buchlern vS it Bihnlicfai itul: vnnd von 
lant Peter: vnd *« dtn, die wadiafftlie sduf- Idn Ouiati Mio, die Chritfui vnnt ben 
PetTo bdolen hat in se^ hate *nd retfrunt genada dncb bmder AugustinQ Alucldt 
ssat Fiandid oideu tsu Lelpt^" 

SeeCmuir, Drknnden.n, lOi f. 

On May 31, Lather ptrts the whole sltnatkin paftiaUy b a letta to Spalatln u 
follows: "LoniceTs Scbrift wird moi|en fertig sein. Die Lat/afet dnd besotgt, 
Ihre SchlUer n behahen; de rOfanien. dass Ciaairas sa ihnen t<™i«— werde. Wis 
iesdyUtigunddodiwieoD^aiiUchiitd«Neid. VocdnemJahre,dadelUM(nns, 
aIiwlcenwiibe^egt.q>ottcten,sabenslenklitvarsa%dsss ihnen^esKieasbevor- 
stebe. Det Hen i^lett. . . ■ Odwenfart MMJch widn dai BQchlein FcMtiiriims 
TQsteo,inwddiemerdaicligdiedieltiricd. IchhabeeindeuticbesBudi wider den 
Eod ran Alvdd lettiggestellt, welcbee }etst unter dv Prase lit" 

t ^VoD dcm Bspstun su Rome: wid dec den hochbcnnnpten Rcoianbiten to 
Ldpack D. Utitinus Lu- ther August. Vnltteaberg." 30 leaves, quattOb last 
page blank. 

by Google 

33> The Ptftcy at Rome 

two by S3van Otmsr in Aagibwg; oat by Geotge N«dlet in AngdMitg; om 
by Adua Petri In Bud and one by Andieir EisUndcz.* 

IncUenlaUy Luther h»iw4ii'« the "Alvdd An"* and the Rotnan caoK 
without ^ovM, but in nAttanc* he dplaiia to the [aymen what Christiaiii^ 
Rally is,' L e., imfiddi to them the enence of the ChriBtiaii Church.* la 
doing w ht takes advanced gioand fdc dvQ and rdiglom liberty. Tlie tim- 
ditiooalmediKvalideaof univenaimooaichyii dealt a lieavy blow, Nejtlia 
hi Gvil Govenimcnt DOT in theChuichis thereneedof a sin^ monardiical 
head. "The Ranaii Empiie governed itadf foe a Img time, and very wdl, 
witlMiit the ODe head, and many othei countries In the worid did the lame. 
How does the Swiss Contedecaiy govern itadf at present?" 

Against the modern demand that tiic QmrcJi shall socialize itsdf, t^*t it 
shall oTKaniie as the public center in a ccMnmunity of the pei^'s civic life, 
tltst it shall ester the oatkn's pi^tical activities for monl uplift, and that 
ministers should become fdiat Luther would call "preachers of dreams in 
material commnnitiea," our book places itself on record' 

Against the widespread demand that Qiristiaiiity should get together 
Into one wwld-wide visible e^eaiasticsl oidn, Luther's words are pctemp- 
toiy. He declares that the coie true Church b already a qnritual ccm- 
munlty composed of all the believers in Christ \tpoa earth, that It is not a 
bodily aasembly, but "an anembly of the hearts in coe faith," that the true 
Church is "a i(nritual thing, and not anything extemsl or outward," that 
"external unity ia not the futfilmoit ot a divine commandment," and that 
those who emphaidze the exttraalliatlaa oi the Churdi into ooe visible 
or national order "are in reality Jews."* 

'FotthletoftlKseecBtiMMieeWeimar Ed.,TiiBi. 

* Lather in tU* tractate aims bqraod the "undeniied Kdbe of the barefoot 
bisn at LdpoK," at the "brave aod ircat flsg-benen who remain in Udini; and 
would win a oouUe vlctaty ia snotbet's name," namely Prierias, Csjetan, Et^ 
Enuer and the Univodties o( Cologne and Louvaiac Luther use* the evJtbet 
quoted sbovc in on* of U* tetter* to Spalatin. 

* "I wefcoDw the oiipoituiuty to eqdatai snmettoi of the natwe ct ChrisIiaBiQr 
br the bity." 

* "1 mart GM erf all explain what these tbfav tama, the Church, and the One 
Head of the ChnrdL" 

*" On tUs point we mutt bear the word of Chdst, Who, when Pilate aiked Sss 
coaceR^nsHliEincdooi,anHweced,Myklnfdoailinoto<tliia«oiid. Tbisisindeed 
a dear pastafe In wUch the Cbuich ia made iqwate from all temixml aaamimiciea. 
I* not tUs a cruel error, when the one Chibtian Chnrcb, Kparated by CbiiK Knwll 

tt material cODmranities? *' 
"No hope b teft on earth eicqit in the tanpnaL" 

* Amoof the many tMng t that Luther saji on this poiot are the fbOowinc: 
"AcxMdlng to the Soiptnce* the Chncdt i« called the aMtmbly of sU the bdieven 

fak Quilt upon eartb. TUi ccnmiimity frmiitt* of sH those who live lb true fait^ 
bopeaod lore, so that the esMnoe, Hie and nature id the Church Is not a bodily 
aiMubly, but an aaonUy of the hearts hi ow faith. TIuu, tboufh they be a 
thouMad nihs apart is body, th^ are yet called an aHenbly b q>iiit, because Mcfa 


Ditrodnction 333 

Luther refen to thoK without the unity of the Rmnan Church as still 
vithiD the true Church. "For the Muscovites, Ruamam, Greeks, Bat»- 
mi&ns, and many other great peoples in the world, all these believe as we do, 
baptise as we do, preach as we do, live as we do." 

But if Luther attacks the supremacy of outer organisation in the Chuich, 
he DO less fordbly diqiutes the supremacy of man's own inner thinJting, his 
reasming, in thecdogy. He defines human [«aaon as "our ability which is 
drawn tiom experience in temporal things" and declares it ridiculous to 
ptace this ability on a level with the divine law.' He compares the man who 
OSes his reason to defend God's law with the man who in the thick of battle 
would use his bare hand and head to protect his helmet and sword. ^Ife 
insists that Scripture is the suprane and only rule of faith,' and ridicules 

one preaches, believes, ho|>es, loves, and lives like the other. So we mug of the Holj 
GbfMt: "Thcni, Who through diverse tongues gstberest together the nations in the 
unity of the faith.' That means a qnitual uoily. And this uni^ is of itadf sufi- 
dent to make a Chutcb, ud without it no unity, be it of place, ol time, of person, <d 
work, or of whatever else, makes a Church." 

" A man is not reckoned a member of the Church aazoiding to his body, but accord- 
ing to his soul, nsy, sccording to his faith. ... It U plain that the Churcb con be 
dasstd with a temporal onminnity as little as si»rits with bodies, Whosocvci 
would not go astray should therefore bidd fast to this, that the Church is a ^liritual 
assembly of souls in one faith, that no tme is reckMied a Chtistian (or his body's 
sake: that the true, real, ft«'">'»t Church is a spiritual thing, and not anything 
external or outward." 

"All those who nuke the Christian canummlon a material and outward thing, like 
other communities, are in reaHty Jews, who wait for their Messiah to establish an ex- 
ternal kingdom at ■ certain definite place, namely, Jerusalem; and so sacrifice the 
Uitb, which alone makes the kingdom of Christ a thhig spiritual or ol the heart." 

In this and the following notes, for brevity's sake, various quotations are sunmiar- 
Ised and connected. 

' " For the teachmgs of human experience and (Deut. iS : S) resson are far bdow 
the divine law. The Scriptures expressly fralud us to follow our own reason. Deul. 
xii; 'Ye shall tut do . . . every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes'; 
for fauman reasoo ever strives against the law (Gen. vi : 5) of God. Therefore the 
attempt to establiih or defend divine order with human reason, unless that lesson 
has previously been established and enlightened by faith, is just as futile, as if I 
would throw light upon the sun with a lightless lantero, or rest a rock upon a reed. 
For Isuah vii makes reason subject to faith, wtien he says (vii : g): 'Except ye 
believe, ye shall oot have understanding or reason. ' He does not say. Except ye 
have reasoD, ye sfaiD not bcGeve. Theieiore this scribe would better not have put 
forth a claim to establish the fdth and the divine law by mere reason." 

■ "That the serpent lifted up by Moses, si^iifies Cbritt, is Uught by John iiL 
II it were not [or that passage, my reasoning might evolve many strange and weird 
fancies out of that type. That Adam was a type of Christ, I learn not [ran myself, 
hut from St. Pant. That the k><± in the wilderness represents Christ is not taught by 
my reason, but by St. Paul. None other explains the type but the Holy Spirit Him- 
self. He has given the type and wrought the fulfilment, that both ^^ and fulfil- 
ment and the interpretation may be God's owa and not man's, and out faith be founded 
not on human, but ou divine words. What leads the Jews astray but that they inter- 
pret the types as they please, without the Scriptures? What has led n many herctka 
tamy but the interpretation of the tyfta without reference to the Scripturea?" 


334 TlM P^a^ At Rome 

the Romanists who inject thdr retuon into the Scriptura, "amUng out ol 
them what they wish, as thoueli they weie a nose of wax to be pulled aiound 

' As might be sii[q)osed, Luther's book, thus Kt against eztemsl unity of hn- 
man ecclc^astical organization, and against the inner rule of human thinking, 
is equally strcHig against the human visualiiation of divine wuship. Beargues 
against thoee who "tum spiritual edification into outward show", and thoae 
iriio chiefly apidy the name Chuich to an assemtily in wluch "the cxtenuJ 
rites are in use, such as chanting, reading, vestments; and the name 'qiintua) 
estate' is given to the members of tlie h<dy orders, not on account of thdr 
faith (which perhaps they do not have), but because they have been con- 
secrated with an extetnal anointing, wear distinctive dress, make apedal 
prayers and do special works, have their places in the choir, and seem to 
attend to all such external matters of worship."* 

The fallacy of the argument that because the Old Testament was a type of 
the New, therefore the material types of the Old Testament must be repr> 
duced b the New, is exposed by him.* The open and fearless (q)paeitioa 
to the popedom at Rome, which already had aj^Msred in the Diet at Augs- 
bnig in 1518, and, more drcumqiectly, in the Ldpag Di^utation in 1519, 

> "The word Chnrch, when it Ii used for web external afialn, whereas it amxn» 
Ote faith alone, U done violence to; yet this manner of uiinc it has si»«ad everywhere, 
to the great injury ol many aouls, who think that such outwud show f» the qiititusl 
and only tiue estate in ChriAendiun. Of such a purely extonal Church, there is 
not one letter in the Hijy Soiptures. The building and inoease td the Chuith, 
which ii the body of Chrat, oometh alone from Christ, Who is iu bead. ChriMta- 
dom is mled Willi outward ihow; but that doe* Dot make us Christians. TheChurdi 
is a qaritual and not a bodily thing, for that which one believes is not bodily or visible. 
The enenial marks whenby one can percdve where this Church is on earth, are 
BaptiBO, the Saoament and the Cospcl. For where B^tism and the Goapd an 
no one may doubt that there are saints, even if it were only the bsba b thdr awUea." 

* "It is evident that a type is material and external, and fulfilment of the type is 
st^tual and intenial; what the type reveals to the bodily eye, its fulfiliocilt mutt 
reveal to the eye of faith alone, llie bodily assembly of the pe(^ signifies the ^b- 
itual and intenia] assembly of the Christian people in faith. Mows set a serpent on 
a pole and whosoever lixdced upon it was made whole. That sgnifies Chiiit on the 
ciosB. Whoeoever believeth in Hun is saved. And 10 throughout the entire (M 
Testament, all the bodily visble things in it signify in the New Testanent spiiitoal 
and inward things, wliich one cannot see, but only possess in faith. St. AuguRiM 
says OD John ill; 'TUs is the difierence between the type and its fulfilment: the 
^rpe gave temporal goods and life, but the fulfilment give* qilritual and eternal 

"Aaron was a type of Christ aod not of the Pope. Paul tift the high priest 
typifies Christ; you say St. Petei. Paul njrs Christ entered not into a temporal 
building. You make the fulfillment to be earthly and external. If Aaron was a 
type in eztenial authority, vestments and state, why was he not a type in an the otbw 
external and bodily matters? The Old Testament high priest was not pennitted to 
have his head shom. But why does the Pope have a toosuce? Hie Old Testament 
hi^ priest was a subject. Why then dots the Pope have men kiss Ua feet and a*- 
ptie to be king, which Christ Hunself did not? Wherein is the type fulfilled?" 

by Google 

fatrodoctitm 335 

b very free' in this boc^et to the I^tjr of 1510, Knd ii preliminary to the 
more intenie aotagoniim which will appw ia " Tbt Babyloniui C^>tivity." 
At Ldpzig, Eck hut Uid emphasis on the Soiptute passBge, "Feed my 
iheep," and both this passage' sjid the one of Matthew 16 : iS ("Thou art 
Peier, and (q>on this rock I will build my Church") are ezptained by Luther 
for the laity. He chuges the popes with having forsaken the faith, with liv- 
ing under the power of Satan, and with being themselves heretical.* 

This tractate qipliea doctrine to existing institutions, and makes the truth 
dear to the laity. We see in it the power of Luther in stirring the pcfmlar 
mind. We do not regard the coarse invectives of Luther (which many 
cultured men of to-day seem to dte with outward horror— and inner enjoy- 
ment) as a mark of low peasant birth, 01 of cnidenees of breeding, but as 
the language ol a great leader who, in deq>erate struggle with the powers 
that be, knew how to attach himself to the mind of his age in such way as to 
influence it. Bow noble and great is bis own remark at the close of this 
booklet OD others' allusion to himself in printi "Whoever will, let him 
freely slander and condemn my person and my life. It is already forgiven 
him. God has given me a ^ad and fearless qiirit, which they shall not em- 
bitter (or me, I trust, not in all eternity." 

Luther, in this pamphlet, msists that none are to be regarded as heretics 
dmply because they are not under the Pope; and that the Pope's decrees, 
to stand, must endure the test of Scripture. Luther wrote In May. In 
June he ttdd Spalatin that if the Pope did not reform, he would a)q>eal to the 
Emperor and the German DobHi^. Within another mcmth that ^^»eal 

The men of Leipdg feared the work of Luther, and the rector of the 

' Luther to Spsladn, June 8th: "Gcgen den Esel von Alvdd wenle kh meinni 
Angrifl so doridhten dais kh des rSmiecheti Fabstes nicht oneiiigedenk bin, und 
werde kdnem von betden etwai schenken. Denn lokhes criordett dcr Stofl mit 
NothwendlRkdt. EndHcheinmal mflsien die G e heimnlsse des 
Antichrist ofienbart wcrden. Dean so ditngen lie ach selbsl 
bervor, und woQen nicht wdter vcrborgen seJB." 

To this Luther adds the rignificant >tstEmeat: "Ich tube vot, einen Bffenllichea 
Zettel acszuIasMn an den Kaiser und den Add im lanien Deutsdiland, wider die 
Tyrannd und die NichtswUrdigkcit des rOnu'tchen Hofes." 

* "'Feeding' in the Roman sense meuii to burden Qiristendmn with many and 
hnrtlul laws. II 'feeding' means to dt in tbe bigfaen place and to have an office, 
It follows that whoever ii doing this wmkaf feeding la a niot, whether be be a knave. 
or a rogue, or what not. Where there is no love, there is no feeding. The papagr 
either must be a love, or it cannot be a feeding of tbe theep." 

' "The greater put of the Roman communion, and even some of the popes thim- 
Belve^ have forsaken the faith wsntonly and without struggle, and live tmdet tbe 
power of Satan. The majority of those who hold so strongly to the authority of the 
Fope, and lean upon it, are themselves possessed by tbe powers of bell. Some of the 
popes were herMics themselves and gave heretical laws. These Roman knaves 
cone along, place the Pope above Christ and make him a judge over the Scriptures. 
They say that he cannot err." 

b, Google 

336 The P^ac7 at Roma 

Unhwra^ bad pled few mocy. Luther npUed that L^pdg deseived to be 
pUced in the pQloiy,* that he had no dtsiic to make tfxxt ot the dty ud Ita 
univtts^, but was pnatti into it by the bombut ot the Romaniit who 
boasted that he was a "puUic teacher of the whole Hdy SaiptOK at Le^ 
aig"; and by the fact that Alveld had dedicated his work to tlie dtf and its 
CouncO. Alvdd answered Lcmicer and Lutber lutterly, but LutliCT lepUed 
no more. 

Tbeodobe E. Schmauk. 
LebtttiOH, Pemuyhatiia. 

t"Du Bemtlben der Leipdger GeblHi^dt." To Spalatin, Jul io. "Die 
IficbtswUrdiiieitea dor Ldpdger." To Joh. Lang, Jan. a6. " ~ 
dec LdpciccT Partd." To Sfialatiii. Feb. j. 

by Google 





After all these years of fruitful rain and abundant AH«w 
growth something new has appeared on the scene. Many guj*'' 
have essayed to attack me heretofore with vile abuse 
and glorious Ues, yet without much success. But the 
latest to distinguish themselves are the brave heroes at 
Leipzig on the market-place, who desire not only to be 
seen and admired, but to break a lance with every one. 
Their armor is so wonderful that I have never seen the like 
before. They have put the helmet on the feet, the sword 
on the head, shield and breastplate on the back, they hold 
the spear by the point, and the whole armor becomes them 
so well as to mark them as horsemen of a new sort.* They 
would prove thereby not only that they have not frittered 
away their time with dteam-books without learning any- 

1 Augiudn Alvdd. *a aimed from the town of hli tHrth, Alveld in Sixony, A 
Ftmndscan monk, Lector o( hU order M hdpag. It it uid of him th&t what be 
Ucked in Icaming he made up in Bcuirility, lo tlut he hhntelf compUlos that 
his own brother- monlu wanted to forbid his writing. John Lonicenu, a fiieiui 
of Lutber, published a mwOI book.Biblia nova Alveldeoiii, Wit- 
tenberg. 1510, in which he gathered a Ions liit ol Alveid'i tenoi of reproach 
uted againit Luther. To him has bc«D attributed the origia ol the undignified 
■tyle adopted by ao many dncc 1510 on both ndea of the amtioveny about 
Luther's teachings. Vid. H. A. Eihasd, in Ertcb and Gtuber, 
£ncyclop*edU,iii.977; Allgemeine Deutsche Biogiaphle, 

* C[, Ancnttlne'i CoaftHiaiu, m, vil: Jtot u It b umor, a dmd being 
Vnorant what piece were appointed lot what put, dwald dap a glaiTe opoo 
Ua htad and draw a headpiece upon hii leg. . . ." 

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338 The Pi^a^ at Rom» 

thing, as I accused them, but would also aclueve a great 
name as people who were conceived, bom, nursed, cradled, 
fondled, brought up, and grown up in the Holy Scriptures. 
It would be no more than fair that whoever could, should 
be afraid of them, so that their labor and tbdr good 
intentions might not be entirely in vain. Z<eipzig, to 
produce such giants, must indeed be rich soil. 

That you may understand what I mean, observe: 
Sylvester, Cajetan, Eck, £mser,> and now O^ogne and 
Louvain^ have shown tiieir knightly prowess against me 
in most strenuous endeavor, and received the honw and 
^ory they deserved; tb^ have defended the cause of the 
pope and of indulgences against me in such a manner 
that they might well wish to have had better luck, fm- 
ally, some of them thou^t the best thing to do was to 
attack me in the same manner as the pharisees attacked 
* Christ. They put forward a champion, and thou^t: If 
he wins, we all win with him; if he is defeated, he suffers 
defeat alone. And the super-Ieamed, circumspect Mal- 
volio* thinks I will not notice it. Very well, in order that 
all thdr plans may not miscarry, I will pretmd not to under- 
stand their game. And I beg them in return, not to take 
notice, that when I strike the pack, I am aiming at the 
mule. And if they will not grant this request, I stqnilate 
that, whenever I say anything against the newest Roman 
heretics and blasphemers of the Scriptures, not merely the 

' Hw foiiT diirf Utcniy oiipoaaiU of Lather in the eaiiier yon of t)i« Rcforma- 
tko— Syhntcr If utdinl, nnullj called Prieriu, tfur the dty of hti biith. a 
(Mpdcdd*! (HagUtct »«crl p a 1 ■ t i i) who hul publiitud tbr« book* 
■giinit Latbei [>riot to 1510: ThofUM of GaEUno, Cutlinal, and papal legate 
at the Diet of Aoglbiiix, 15181 John Et^ pnrfenor in the Cnivenity of Inco)- 
ftadt, who had been Lathet** appODeDt at the Lc^pdc Dnputatlm io 1519; 

the laaghiikg-atoclE of Gtanauay under the name at "the IiHprij ffoat," an appeD^ 
tioa nmntfwi by hit ooat-of-ann*. 

'llieTheolocicalFacnitieiaf Colocne and Loonine cffidaltr condemned Lath< 
et*! wiftfaid; the lamtr Aucu*t 30th. the latter November Tth. ts'9- The text of 
thdr RnhitiiMii wai reprinted by Lothrrwlth a icply, Reiponito ad cott> 
demnatlooemdoctrinalem, etc.<i5M}, Weimar Ed., VI,in>> 
BrL Ed., op. var. arg., XV.mB. 


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An Answer to tiie Cdebratod RonumJBt at L«^zig 339 

poor, immature scribe of the bare-foot friars at L^padg 
shall take it to himself, but rather the great-hearted flag- 
beazers, 1^10 remain in hiding, and yet would win a notable 
victory in another's name. 

I pray every honest Christian to recdve my words — 
though sometimes barbed with scorn or satire — as comii^ 
from a heart that is made to break with sorrow and to turn 
seriousness into jesting at the sight now beheld at Leipzig, 
whoe there are also pious people who would venture body 
and soul for God's Word and the Scriptures, but where a 
blas[^emer can thus <^>enly speak and write, who esteems 
and treats God's hdy wo^ no better than if they were 
the fabled pratiogs of some fool or jester at the carnival. 
Because my Lord Christ and His holy Word, evai He who 
gave His own blood as the purchase-price, is held to be but 
mockery and fools* wit, I must likewise drop all seriousness, 
and see whether I, too, have learned how to play the fool 
and clown. Thou knowest, my Lord Jesus Christ, how my 
heart stands toward these arch-bla^hemers. That is 
my reliance, and I will let matters take their course in 
Thy name. Amen. They must ever abide lliee as the 
Lord. Amen. 

I notice that these poOT people are seeking naught else 
than to g^ renown at my expense. They cling to me like 
mud to a wheel. They would rather have questionable 
honor shamefully acquired than remain quiet, and the 
evil spirit uses the deigns of such people only to hinder me 
from doing more useful things. But Z welcome the oppor- 
tunity to ^ve the laity' some explanation of the nature of 
the Ch urch,* and to contradict the words of these seductive 

t Tlie Tlem vhidi Lntber expoundi in tbii tmtiae bad alreadr been exinaed in ■ 
LUin imrk, Reiolntlonei inper PiopoiItioD* XIII. d« 
potettate Papae, (519 (EtI, Ed., op. var. >rg., UI, 193 B; 
Weim&iEd.,II, iBoff). Tbe praent woA is written in Gennan "for tke UUy." 

■Chilitenheit. Luther aturfully midi tbe hm of the word "Chuni" 
(Elrche). Tbe iCMoa win appear in the aismnent wUch fblfann. In muqr 
tJaon boiKTCT, the word 'Xhritfendom" mold not lendet Luther*! taeinli^ and 
then ii^ for the andern reader, do mdi tednkal tcatitctiaa to the tann "Onirdi" 
ai obtaiaed amom Lnthv'a naden. WlHathemml Chtiateohett ianiK 
dcfed otbetwiK than ai "Chriileadoai" it k ao indicated ta a loot-iwteb 

u,j -1.^:1 byGoogle 

340 The P^Mcy at Rome 

masters. Therefore I intend to treat of the subject- 
matter directly, rather than to answer their senseless prat- 
tle. I will cot mention their names, lest they achieve thdr 
true purpose and boastfully regard themselves capable of 
arguing with me in the Scriptures. 


We are discussing a matter which, taken by itsdf, Is 
unnecessary, for any one could be a Christian without 
knowing anything about it. But these idlers who tread 
under foot all the great essentials of the Christian faith, 
must needs pursue such things and worry other people, 
in order to have some object in life. 

This then is the question: Whether the papacy at Rome, 
possessing the actual power over all Christendom (as they 
say), is of divine or of human origin,* and this being decided, 
whether it is posable for Christians to say that all other 
Christians in tbt world are heretics and apostates, even if 
they agree with us in holding to the same baptism, Sacra^ 
ment. Gospel, and all the articles of faith, but merely 
do not have their priests and bishops confirmed by Rome, or, 
as it is now, buy such confirmation with money and let 
th^nselves be mocked and made fools of like the Germans. 
Such are the Muscovites, Russians, Greeks, Bohemians, 
and many other great peoples in the world. For all these 
believe as we do, baptise as we do, preach as we do, live as 
we do, and also give due honor to tiie pope, only they will 
not pay for the confirmation of their bishops and priests. 
Hiey will not, like the drunken, stupid Germans, submit 
to extortion and abuse with indulgences, bulls, seals, 
parchments, and other Roman stock in trade. They are 
ready, too, to hear the Go^>el from the pope, or the p(^'s 
ambassadors, and yet they are not sent to them. 

e Ldptig DUpntttloo, iriietbM tfae power «f te 

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Aa Answer to ttie Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 341 

Now the question is, whether aU these may properly be 
called heretics by us Christians (for of such alone, and of no 
others, do I speak and write), or whether we are not rather 
the heretics and apostates, because we brand such Christians 
as heretics and apostates solely for the sake of money. For 
when the pope does not send the Gospel to them, and his 
messengers to proclaim it, although they are eager to re- 
ceive them, it is clear as day that he is grasping for pow» 
and money through this confirmation of bishops and priests. 
But to this they will not agree, and therefore they are 
branded as heretics and apostates. 

Now I have held, and still hold, that they are not heretics 
and apostates, but perhaps better Christians than we are, 
although not all, even as we are not all good Christians. 
This is challenged, after all its predecessors, by the fine 
little bare-foot book^ of Leipzig, which comes along on 
clogs — ^nay, on stilts. It imagines that it alone (among 
all the others) does not step into the mud; perhaps it 
would gladly dance if some one would buy it a flute. I 
must have a try at it. 

I say, first of all: No one should be so foolish as to be- tha lo- 
lieve ^lat it is the serious opinion of the pope and of all ^ g^ ^ 
his R<mianists and flatterers, that his great power is of divine Soinu ' 
right. Fray observe, of all that is by divine right not the 
smallest jot or tittle is observed in Rome, nay, if they think 
of it at all, it is sccnned as foolishness; all of whidi is as 
clear as day. Hiey even suffer the Gospel and Christian 
faith everywhere to go to rack and ruin, and do not intend 
to lose a hair for it. Yea, all the evil examples of spiritual 
and temporal infamy flow from Rome, as out of a great sea 
of universal wickedness, into all the world. All these 
things cause laughter in Rome, and if any one grieves over 
them, he is called a Bon Christian, i. e., a fool. 
If they really took the commands of God seriously, th^ 
would find many thousand things more necessary to be 

by Google 

343 The Ptpacj at RtMDO 

done, especially those at which they dow laugh and mock. 

ju. i:ie For St. James says, "He that keepeth not one command- 
ment of God, br^eth all." Who would be so stupid as to 
believe that they seek God's command in one thing, and 
yet make a mockery of all the others? It is impossible that 
any one should take one command of God to heart, and not 
at least be moved by all the others. Now there are ever so 
many who zealously guard the power of the pope, yet none 
of them ever ventures a word in favor of even one of the 
other much greater and more necessary commandments, 
which are so bla^emously mocked and scornfully rejected 
at Rome. 

Furthermore, if all Germany were to fall on its knees, and 
to pray that the pope and Uie Romans should keep this 
power, and confirm our bishops and priests without pay- 

Hmu. meat, for nothing— even as the GoE^l says, "Freely ye 
"* have recttved, freely gjve" — and provide aU our churches 
with good preachers, because they have a sufficient abun- 
dance of riches to ^ve money instead of taking it; and if it 
were urged and pressed, that this is their duty according 
to divine command: believe it surely, we should find all 
of them arguing with more insistence than any one ever did 
before, that it is not a divine a)mmand to go to so much 
trouble without pay. They would soon find a little ^oss' 
with which to wind themselves out of it, just as they now 
find what they desire, to weave themsdves mto it. All our 
beseechings would not drive them to it. But ^ce it 
means money, everything they dare to put forth must be 

RoBuu divine command. 

^^. The bishopric of Msunz al<a]e, within the memory of men 

tortiMi now living, has bou^^t eight pallia* in Rome, every one 

' A caumeat expUnttoty of • puuic of SmptUR or of tlie Canoa Law. 

* Pallium, a louf made of iheep'* wool, wMcb tbe pope i» privileged to wear 
at all time*, and other* oab' on (pedfied orriiinTHi; conferTed by tlie pope on 
penoni of tlie tank of archbishop*; od its bestowal depended tbc assmaptiao of 
the title and fuoction* of tbe office. The grantiiig oi iMlHa became a rich warce 
of revcaue for the pope, since every aew incumbent of a prelacy bad to apply for 
U* own panimn tn petton, m by tpedal ttp(«seatatlve, and to pay lor tbo privl- 


An Aosirer to Uie Celebrated Ronunlit at Le^zig 343 

costing about 30,000 gulden — not to mention the innu- 
merable other bishoprics, prelacies and benefices. Thus ate 
we German fools to be led by the nose and then they say: 
It is a divine coomiand to have no bishc^ without Roman 
confirmation. I am surprised that Germany, which is by 
(me-half or more in the possesion of the Church,' still 
has so much as one pfennig left by reason of the un- 
speakable, innumerable, insufferable Roman thieves, 
knaves and robbers. It is said that Antichrist shall find 
the treasures of the earth ; I trow the Rcmianists have found 
them to such an extent as to make our very life a burden. 
If the German princes and the nobility will not interfere 
very shortly, and with decisive courage, Germany will 
yet become a wilderness and be ccnnpelled to devour itself. 
That would furnish the greatest pleasure for the Roman- 
ists, who do not think of us otherwise than as brutes, and 
have made a proverb concerning us at Rome: "Squeeze 
the gold from German fools, in any way you can." 

The pope does not prevent this scandalous vilify. 
They ail wink at it, yea, they think far more highly of 
these supreme arch-villains than they do of the holy 
Gospel of God. They pretend that we are hopeless fools, 
and that it is a divine anomand that the pope should have 
his finger in every pie and do as he pleases with every one, 
just as if he were a god on earth, and should not rather be 
the servant of all,* without any pay, if he wished to be — 
or were — the very highest. But before consenting to this, 
th^ would much rather surrender this power and not caJl 
this a divine command any more than any other. 

But I hear you say, why do they fight so hard against 
you in this matter? Answer: I have attacked some hi^er 

lege of iKtlTuiK it. At the appdatnent of Urid u biihop of Maim b ijoS, 
even the empeioi urged « reductkm of one-htlf the utual f«ea, oped*!!]' dncc 
the iKcviooi Incumbeit hid paid the full price but four yean prerioui. Hw 
nqust wu denied. See Ait. M aim In PRE'-*. 

■Z«iT HSIfte, >o nichtmehr, geittllch. See betmr, page 356, No. t. 

■IiUus u aUution to the papal title, letTtfi lecvoium Dai "the 
KTvant of the lervanta of God" t 

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344 Tlw P»fJ >t Rend 

things, which coDcem faith and God's Word. And when 
they wete not able to contradict me, and saw that Rome 
does not trouble itself about such good things, they dropped 
them too, and attacked me on indulgences and the author- 
ity of the pope, in the hope of thus attaining the prize. For 
they knew very well that where money was concerned, 
the chief school of knaves in Rome woidd support them 
and not remain qmet. But Dr. Luth^ is just a httle proud, 
and pays very little attention to the grunting and squealing 
of the Romanists; and this is well-nigh heartbreaking to 
them. But that does not bother my Lord Jesus, nor Dr. 
Luther, for we believe that the Gospel will and must con- 
tinue. Let a layman ask such Romanists, and let them 
give answer, why they despoil and mock all of God's com- 
mandments, and rant so violently about this power, whereas 
they cannot show at all why it is necessary, or what it ia 
good for. For ever since it has arisen, it has accomplished 
nothing but the devastation of Christendom, and no one is 
able to show anything good or useful that has resulted 
from it. Of this I will speak more fully if this Romanist 
amies again, and then, please God, X will throw light upoa 
the Holy Chair at Rome and e^iose it as it deserves to be 

I have said this, not as a sufficient argument for disputing 

papal power, but in order to show the perverted opinions 

Utxt. of those who strain the gnats, but let elephants go thiou^, 

u^a'* who behold the mote in the brother's eye and permit the 

7:3 beams in their own to remain, only to the end that others 

may be stifled by superfluous and unnecessary things, or 

at least branded as heretics or by any other e[Hthet that 

occurs to them. One of than b this delicate, pions R<Hn- 

anist at Leipzig. Let us now have a look at him. 

I find three strong arguments by which this fruitful 
and noble httle book> of the Romai^ at Ldpdg attadcs 

> AlvtU't Gmnui ImtiM dMoOMd UmU b the t&k •! 1 •traHid. oMfnl Bttlt 

by Google 

An Answer to ttie Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 34s 

The first, and by far the strongest, is, that he calls me ^' *^ 
names — a h^etic, a blind, senseless fool, one possessed by ot th* 
the devil, a serpent, a poisonous reptile, and many other "p"""- 
names of similar import; not simply once, but throughout l Lnthw 
the book, almost on every page.' Such reproaches, JjP"^ 
slanders and calumnies are of no account in other books. « fooi 
But when a book is made at Leip^g, and issued from the 
cloister of the bare-foot friars, by a Romanist of the high 
and holy observance* of St. Frauds, such names aie not 
merely fine examples of mediation, but likewise strong 
arguments with which to defend papal power, indulgences. 
Scripture, faith and the Church.* It is not necessary that 
any one of these should be proved by Scripture or by reason ; 
it is quite enough that they have been put down in bis book 
by a Romanist and holy observant of the ord^ of St. 

And inasmuch as this Romanist himself writes that the 
Jews had overcome Christ on the cross with such argu- 
ments, I, too, must surrender, and acknowledge that as far 
as cursing and scolding, abuse and slander are concerned, 
the Romanist has surely beaten Dr. Luther. On this 
point he doubtless wins. 

The second argument, to express it tersely, is that of D. Tba 
natural reason. ^1^^' 

This is the argument: A. Every onnmuni^ on earth, if from 
it is not to fall to pieces, must have a bodily head, tmder '***^ 
the true head, which is Quist. 

B. Inasmuch as all Christendom is one community on 
earth, it must have a bead, which is the p(^. 

' AJvdd'i latiD tieatbe eivedUb' •botmdi to tlwte appeltatio&i. 
* Alrdd belonged to the bnnch of tbe Fnndicui Orda known u the "Obaet- 
vanti" (fiitrei tegnlkrit obseivan tiae), bomtbeiritrictobiervBOca 
oftbeFnndactuiRnle. SeetfaethktotheLatintnatiMin WeimftiEd., Vl.m- 
iCb tlitenhei t . 

*Gciiieinde— tlie Gcrnus eiiuivalent foe the Latin commanto, com- 
mnnltei,orcongteg*tio. In Lother'i nw of the t*nn it meuit now. 
tintei ■'community," gome tim ti "cao^t^tioa," aometiiiiee even "the Chuccb" 
(Gemelndeder Heiligen). InthlicuelttniidhrteiAlTdd'sclviliti* 
(Weimar Ed.. VI, 17S). 


346 The Ptpaey at Rome 

Hiis argument I have dedgnated with the letters A and 
B for the sake of clearness, and also to show that this 
Romanist has learned his A-B-C all the way down to B. 
Th« However, to answer this argument: Since the question is 
otfti* whether the pope's power is by divine right, is it not a bit 
Attn- ridiculous that hiunan reason (that ability which is drawn 
"•^ from experience in temporal things) is brought in and 
placed on a level with the divine law, especially since it is 
the intention of this poor presumptuous mortal to bring 
the divine law against me. For the teachings of human 
experience and reason are far below the divine law. The 
Scrq>tures expressly forbid us to follow our own reason, 
Deut. Deuteronomy xii, "Ye shall not do . . . every man 
"* whatsoever is right in his own eyes"; for human reason 
Geo. 6;s cver Strives against the law of God, as Genesis vi. says: 
"Every thought and imaginatioD of man's heart is only 
evil continually." Therefore the attempt to establi^ or 
defend divine order with human reason, tmless that 
reason has previously been established and enlightmed 
by faith, is just as futile as if I would throw light upca 
the sun with a lightless lantern, or rest a rock upon a reed. 
For Isaiah vii. makes reason subject to futb, when it says: 
in> 79 "Except ye believe, ye shall not have understanding or 
reason." It does not say, "Exwpt ye have reason, ye 
shall not believe." Therefore this scribe would better have 
left his perverted reason at home, or first have well estab- 
lished it with texts of Scripture, so as not to put forth so 
ridiculous and preposterous a claim and establish the faith 
and the divine law by mere reason. For if this reascHi 
of ours draws the conclusion that a visible ctnnmunity 
must have a visible overlord or cease to exist, it also must 
draw the further conclusion, that as a visible omimunity 
does not exist without wives, therefore the whole Church' 
must have a visible, common wife, in order not to perish. 
What a valiant woman that would needs be! Again, a 

u,,, -1.^:1 byGoogle 

An Answer to tbt Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 347 

visible communily does not exist without a commoD vi^le 
dty, house and country; therefore the Church* must have 
a common dtyj house and country. But where will you 
find that? Verily^ in Rome they are seeking just this with 
in^tient eagerness, for they have made nearly the whole 
world their very own. Again, the Church* would likewise 
need to have in common its visible property, servants, 
maids, cattle, food, etc., for no community exists without 
them. See how gracefully human reason stalks along on 
its stilts. 

A professor of theology ought to have oHisidered in 
advance the clumsiness of such an argument, and proved 
the divine laws and works by the Scriptures, and not by 
temporal anaJo^es and worldly reason. For it is written 
that the divine commandments are justified in and by Pi- igv 
themselves, and not by any external help.* 

Again, the wise man says of the wisdom of God: "Wis- pum-. 
dom hath overcome the proud with her power." It is '*^ 
most deplorable that we should attempt with our reason to 
defend God's Word, whereas the Word of God is rather our 
defence against all our enemies, as St. Paul teaches us. Efib-eit? 
Would he not be a great fool who in the thick of battle 
sought to protect his helmet and sword with bare hand and 
unshielded head? It is no difEerent when we essay, with 
our reason, to defend God's law, which should rather be 
our weapon. 

From this, I hope, it is clear that the flimsy argument of 
this prattler fails utterly, and, together with everything he 
constructs upon it, is found to be without any basis what- 
ever. But that he may the better imderstand his own 
mummery, even in case I should grant that a process of 
reasoning might be entirely valid without the Scriptures, 
I will show that neither of his arguments is valid, neither 
the first, A, nor the second, B. 


348 The P^M^ at Rome 

The The first, A, is that every commuiilty oa earth must 

mratAn- ^^6 ODe Visible head under Christ. This is simply not 
■wMsd true. How many principalities, castles, cities, and houses 
we find where two brothers or lords reign — and with equal 
authority. The Roman empire governed itself for a long 
time, and very well, without the one head, and many other 
countries in the world did the same. How does the Swiss 
confederacy govern itself at present? Thus in the govero- 
ment of the world there is not one single overlord, yet we 
are all one human race, descended from the one father, 
Adam. The kingdom of France has its own king, Hungary 
its own, Poland, Denmark, and ev^y other kingdom its 
own, and yet they are one people, the temporal estate in 
Christendom, without one common head; and stilt this does 
not cause these kingdoms to perish. And if there were no 
government constituted in just this manner, who cotdd or 
would prevent a community from choosing not one, but 
many overlords, all clothed with equal power? Therefore 
it is a very poor procedure to measure the things which are 
of God's appointbig by such vacillating analogies of workUy 
things, when tb^ do not hold even in the appointments 
of men. But si^>pose I should grant this dreamer that his 
dream is true, and that no community can exist without one 
visible head; how does it follow that it must likewise be so 
in the Churdi?* I know very well that the poor dreamer 
has a certain conception, according to which a Christian 
community is the same as any other temporal community.* 
He thus reveals plainly that he has never learned to know 
what Christendom, or the Christian community, really is. 
I had not believed it possible to meet such dense, massive, 
stubborn error and ^orance in any man, much less in a 
saint of Ldpzig. 

For the benefit, therefore, of this numskull, and of those 
led astray by him, I must first of all explain what is 


'Gemeiode. A i^jrco the word. OnUwaeoandiiw«IO«Un,ceapm 
Ibe OaStt tmfikiyiatat of Qm Eoalbb »«d "paiUi.'' 

L,., ,_,:ibyGoogle 

Aa Ansver to Ae Celebrated RomaniBt at Leipzig 340 

meant by these things — the Church,* and the One Head 
of the Chu-ch.* I must talk bluntly, however, and use 
the same words which they have so barbarously per- 

The Scriptures speak of the Giurch* quite ^mply, and What 
use the term in only one sense; these men have added ^^JJ^j 
and brought into general use two more. The first use, 
according to the Scriptures, is this, that the Church* is -j- 

called the assembly of all the believers in Christ upon -L 

earth, just as we pray in the Creed: "I believe in the 
Holy Ghost, a communion of saints." This commimity tim 
or assembly consists of all those who live in true faith, hope ^^„ 
and love; so that the essence, life and nature of the Church' of Sainti 
is not a bodily assembly, but an assembly of hearts in 
one faith, as St. Paul says, Ephesians iv, "One baptism, Eph. 4^5 
one faith, one Lord." Thus, though they be a thousand 
miles apart in body, yet they are called an assembly in 
spirit because each one preaches, believes, hopes, loves, 
and lives like the other. So we ^g of the Holy Ghost: 
"Thou, who through divers tongues gatherest together the 
nations in the unity of the f^th."* Iliat means in reality 
a spiritual unity, because of which men are called a com- 
munion of saints. And this unity b of itself sufficient to ^« 
make a Church,* and without it no imity, be it of place, of ^i ^ 
time, of person, of work, or of whatever else, makes a chor^ 
Church.' On this point we must hear the word of Christ, ,^|j ' 
Who, when Pilate asked Km concerning His kingdom, 
answered: "My kingdom is not of this world." This is Jcta 
indeed a dear passage, in which the Church* is made sepa- ' ^ 
rate from all temporal communities, as not being anything 
external. And this blind Romanist makes of it an ex- 
ternal community, like any other. Christ says even 
more clearly, Luke ivii, '"nie kingdom of God cometh ^*H.„ 
not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo, here, n 


'FromVcsl Sancte Spirltai, m aotipbtm 
boa Um dcvcntli ceotuty. 

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350 The Papacy at Rosie 

or lo, there! for behold, the kingdom of God Is vithin 

I am astounded, that such strong, clear words of Christ 
are treated as a farce by these Romanists. For by these 
words it is clear to every one that the kingdom of God 
(for so He calls His Churdi*) is not at Rome, nor is it bound 
to Rome or any other place, but it is where there is faith 
in the heart, be a man at Rome, or here, or elsewhere. 
It is a nauseating lie,* and Christ is made a liar when it is 
said that the Church^, is in Rome, or b bound to Rome — <x 
even that the head and the authority ai« there by divine 
!■«. if. Moreover, in Matthew xziv. He foretdd the gross decq>- 
■*"** tion which now rules under the name of the Roman Church, 
when He says: "Many false prophets and false Chiists shall 
come in My name, saying: I am Christ; and shall dec^ve 
many, and show great signs, that if possible they shall de- 
ceive the very elect. Wherefore, if they shall say unto 
you: Behold, in the secret chambers is Christ, believe it not; 
behold, Bte is in the desert, go not forth. Behold, I have 
told you before." Is this not a cruel error, when the unity 
of the Christian Chimi,' separated by Christ Himself from 
all material and temporal cities and places, and transferred 
to spiritual realms, is included by these preachers of dreams 
in material communities,* which must of necessity be bound 
to localities and places. How is it pos^ble, or whose reason 
can grasp it, that q>iritual unity and material unity should 
be one and the same? There are those among Chris- 
tians who are in the external assembly and unity, who 
yet by their sins exclude themsdves from the inner, 
spiritual unity. 

Therefore, whosoever muntains that an external assem- 
bly or an outward unity makes a Church,' sets forth arbi- 
trarily what is merely his own qunion, and whoever en- 


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An AnBver to the Celebnted Romanist at Le^tdg 351 

deavors to prove it by the Scriptures, brings divine truth 
to the support of his lies, and makes God a false witness, 
just as does this miserable Romanist, who explains every- 
thing that is written concerning the Church* as meaning the 
outward diow of Roman power; and yet he cannot deny 
that the large majority of these people, particularly in 
Rome itself, because of unbelief and evil lives, is not in the 
spiritual imity, i. e., the true Church.' For if to be in the 
external Roman unity made men true Christians, there 
would be no sinners among them, neither would they need 
faith nor the grace of God tomake them Christians; this ex- 
ternal unity would be enou^. 

From this we conclude, and the conclusion is inevitable, wbai 
that just as being in the Roman unity does not make one a ^^^ 
Christian, so being outside of that unity does not make one ii<ui? 
a heretic or unchristian. I ^otdd like to hear who would 
dispute this. For that which is essential must make a true 
Christian; but if it does not make a true Christian, it can- 
not be essential; just as it does not make me a true Christian 
to be at Wittenberg or to be at Ldpzig. Now it is dear 
that external fellowship with the Roman commimion* 
does not make men Cluistians, and so the lack of that 
fellowship certainly does not make a man a heretic or 
an apostate. Therefore it must also be false, that it is a 
divine command to be in connection with the Roman 
Church.* For whosoever keepeth one divine command, Ju. *:■» 
keepeth them all, and none can be kept without keying 
the others. Therefore it is an open and blasphemous lie 
against the Holy Ghost to say that the external unity under 
Roman authority is the fulfilment of a divine command- 
ment, since there are so many in that unity who neither 
regard nor fulfil any of the Divine commandments. Hence, 
to be in this place or that, does not make a heretic: but to 
be without true faith makes a man a heretic. 

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3$a The Pqwcy at Rome 

Again, it is clear that to be a member of the Roman 
ccamnunioD^ does not meaji to be in true faith, and to be 
outside of it does not mean to be in unbelief; otherwise 
those within it would all be believers and truly saved, for 
no one article of faith is believed without all the other arti- 

Therefore all those who make the Christian communion* 
a material and outward thing, like other communities, are 
in reality Jews (for the Jews likewise wait for their Messiah 
to establish an external kingdom at a certain definite place, 
namely, Jerusalem), and thus sacrifice the faith, which alone 
makes the kingdom of Christ a thing spiritual and of the 
Th» Again, if every temporal community is called after its 

^^, head, and we say of this dty, it is Electoral, and of that, 
Chwch it is Ducal, and of another, it is Frankish; then by right 
all Christendom should be called Roman, or Petrine, or 
Papal. But why, then, is it called Chiistendom? Why 
are we called Christians, if not from our head, although we 
are still upon earth? lliereby it is shown that for Chris- 
tendom there is no other h^, even upon earth, than 
Christ, for it has no other name than the name of Christ 
Act* For this reason St. Luke tells us that the disciples were 
"' at first called Antiochians, but soon this was changed and 
they were called Christians.* 

Furthermore, though a man consists of two natures, 
namely, body and sotd, yet he is not reckoned a member of 
the Qiurch according to his body, but according to his 
soul, nay, according to his faith. Otherwise it might be 
said that a man is a nobler Christian than a woman, be- 
cause his i^ysical structure is superior to that of a woman, 
or that a man is a greater Christian than achild, a healthy 
person a stronger Christian than an invalid; lords and ladies, 

* Verikmmlnac- 
*EIiilBk«lt od«r GemelDde. 

* A qoiint Intaprautiao of the pmmib: "The dfadiilM mn nikd qirtrtw 

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An Answer to the Cdebrated Romanist at Leipzig 353 

the rich and powerful, better Christians than servants, 
maids, and the poor and lowly; whereas Paul writes, Gala- 
tians V, "In Christ is neither male nor female, neither lord GaLj:t<: 
nor servant, neither Jew nor Greek," but as far as the body '* 
is concerned they are all equal. But he is the better Chris- 
tian who is greater in faiUi, hope and love; so that it is 
plain that the Church' is a spiritual community, which can 
be classed with a temporal community as little as spirits 
with bodies, or faith with temporal possessions. 

This, indeed, is true, that just as the body is a figure or n* 
image of the soul, so also the bodily community is a figure ^^"^ 
of this Christian, spiritual community, and as the bodily mtudoa 
community has a bodily head, so the spiritual commimity ^^* 
has a spiritual head. But who would be so bereft of sense as Spiritud 
to maintain that the soul must have a bodily head? That 
would be like saying that every live animal must have on 
its body a painted head. If this literalist (I should say, 
literary person) had really understood what the Church' 
is, witiiout doubt he would have been ashamed even to 
contemplate such a book as his. What wonder, therefore, 
that from a darkened and wandering brain issues no light, 
but thick, black darkness St. Paul says, Colossians iii, 
"Our life is not on earth, but hid with Christ in God." CcLy^ 
For if the Church were a bodily assembly, you cotdd tell 
by looking at the body whether any one were Christian, 
Turk or Jew; just as you can tell by the body whether a 
person is a man, woman or child, or whether he is white or 
black. Again, I can tell whether one is gathered in tem- 
poral assembly with others in Ldpzig, Wittenberg, or 
elsewhere; but I cannot tell at all whether he is a believer 
or not. 

Whosoever would not go astray should, therefore, hold Tii« 
fast to this, that the Church' is a spiritual assembly of souls 5 *" ' " 
in one faith, and that no one is reckoned a Christian for his 1 
body's sake; in order that he may know that the true, 

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354 1^* Papacy at Rome 

reaJ, right, essential Church' is a spiritual thing, and not 
anything external or outward, by whatever name it may be 
called. For one who is not a Christian may have all those 
other tUngs, and they will never make him a Christiaii 
without true faith, which alone makes Christians. For 
this reason we are called Christian believers, and on Pente- 
cost we sing: 

We iKseecb Thee, Holy Spirit', 
Let true faith oui poitioD be. 

It is in this wise, and never in any other, that 'the 
Holy Scriptures speak of the Holy Church and of Chris- 
n« Beyond that, another way of speaJung of Christendom 

^J^^has come into use. Accordbg to this, the name Church* 
is given to an assembly in a bouse or a parish, a bishopric, 
an archbishc^ric, or the papacy, in which assembly ex- 
ternal rites are in use, such as chanting, reading, vestments. 
And primarily the name of "spiritual estate" is given 
to the bishops, priests and members of the holy orders; not 
on account of their faith, which they perhaps do not have, 
but because they have been consecrated with an external 
anointing, wear crowns, use a distinctive garb, make special 
prayers and do special works, say mass, have their places 
in the choir, and attend to all such external matters of wor- 
ship. But violence is dcme to the word "spiritual," 
or "Church," when it is used for such external affairs, 
whereas it concerns faith alone, which, working in the soul, 
makes right and true spirituales and Christians; 

'NuQ bitten wir den heillsen Geiit, • populai pn-Refoctii*- 
tion bymn, at one stanza, (or Wbitsuntide, dating from tbe middle o( tbe thii- 
tecotli century; quoted in a sermon b; Bertboldt, tbe FntndKsa, ■ otebrated 
German preacher of the Middle Ages, who died in Regetuburg in iija. Pub- 
lished by Lather, irith three ttinaai of his own added, In his hymn-book of 1I14. 
Vid. WxcxxxHAOKL. Kircheniied, ii. 44; KocB, Geichichte dea 
Klrchenliedi, I, 185: Jituan, Diet, of Hymnolocr. Sii- A1m> 
Misa Vnnkvorth's Christian Sinicrs, jS. 


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An Answer to th« Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 355 

yet this maimer of using it has spread everywhere, to the 
great injury and perversion of many souls, who think that 
such outward show is the spiritual and only true estate in 
Christendom or the Church. 

There is not one letter in the Holy Scriptures to show i 
tliat such a purely eitemal Church has been established ' 
by God; and I hereby challMige all those who have made 
this bla^hemous, damnable, heretical book, or would de- 
fend it, together with all their followers, even if all the 
universities hold with them. If they can show me that 
even one letter of the Scriptures speaks of it, I am willing 
to recant. But I know that th^ cannot do it. The Canon 
Law and human statutes, indeed, give the name of Church 
or Christendom to such a thing, but that is not now before 
us. Therefore, for the sake of brevity and a better under- 
standing, we shall call the two churches by different names. 
The first, which is the natural, essential, real and true one, 
let us call a sinritual, inner Christendom. The other, which 
b man-made and external, let us call a bodily, external 
Christendom : not as if we would part them asunder, but 
just as when I speak of a man, and call him, according to the 
soul, a ^nritual, according to the body, a physical, man; or 
as the Apostle is wont to speak of the inner and of the out- R 
ward man. Thus also the Christian assonbly, acrarding 
to the soul, is a conununion* of one accord in one faith, al- 
though according to the body it cannot be assembled at 
one place, and yet every group is assembled in its own place. 
This Christendom is ruled by Canon Law and the prelates 
of the Church.* To this belong all the popes, cardinals, 
bishops, prelates, monks, nuns and all those who in these 
external things are taken to be Christians, whether they are 
truly Christians at heart or not. For though membership 
in this communion' does not make true Christians, because 
all the orders mentioned may exist without faith; neverthe- 

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356 The Papaqr at Rome 

less this conmiximon is never without some who at the 
same time are true Christians, just as the body does not 
ffve the soul its life, and yet the soul lives in the body 
and, indeed, can live without the body. Those who are 
without faith and are out^de of the first commiuuty, 
but are included in this second community, are dead 
in the sight of God, hypocrites, and but like wooden 
images of true Christians. And so the people of Israel 
were a type of the spiritual people, assembled in 
, The The third use of the term applies the word Church, not 

^^"''' to Christendom, but to the edifices erected for purposes of 
BuUdinc worship. And the word "s[Hritual" is so stretched as to 
cover temporal possessions, not the possessions which are 
truly spiritual because of faith, but those which are in the 
second or external Church,* and such possessions are called 
"spiritual" or Church possesions.* Agfun, the possessions 
of the laity are called "worldly," althou^ the laymen who 
are in the first or spiritual Church' are much better than 
the worldly clergy and are truly spiritual. After this 
fashion it now goes with almost all the works and the 
government of tiie Church;* and the name "spiritual pos- 
sessions" has been so exclusively applied to worldly pos- 
sesions that now no one understands it to mean anything 
else, and this has gone so far that men regard neither the 
spiritual nor the external Church any more, and they 
squabble and quarrel about temporal possessions like the 
heathen, and say, they do it for the sake of the Church 
and of spiritual possessions. Such perversion and misuse 
of words and things has come from the Canon Law and 
human statutes, to the unspeakable corruption of Chris- 


* All Bouicei fnim whicb the Chnrch or the iUrgy derived ta income wen oiled, 
in tbe brovlet sense, "sinritud" posseadoDi. A furtlici dbtinctioD mi dnwn 
betwecm two Unds of Kcleuutiol iaanne— the ■ p i 1 1 1 u ■ 1 i ■ fn thli le 
the fees, tithes, etc, and the tempordik tbeinoane' 
and tbe like. 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Le^oig 357 

Now let U3 consider the head ot Christendom. From Th« 
the foregoing it follows that the first-named Christendom, ^'i* 
which alone is the true Church, may not and cannot have Church: 
a head upon earth, and that no one on earth, neither bishop *^''^' 
nor pope, can rule over it; only Christ in heaven is the head, 
and He ruleth alone. 

^This is proved, first of all, in this way: How can a man whjthe 
rule over anything which he does not luiow or understand? ^^ 
And who can know whether a man truly believes or not? Have u 
Aye, if the power of the pope extended to this point, then he eMd*' 
could take away a Christian's faith, or direct its progress, 
or increase it, or change it, according to his pleasure, just 
as Christ can do. 

In the second place, it is proved by the nature of the 
head. For it is the nature of every head joined to a body 
to infuse into all its members life and feeling and activity. 
This will be found to be true of the heads in worldly affairs. 
For the ruler of a country instils into his subjects all the 
things which are in his own mind and will, and causes all his 
subjects to be of like mind and will with himself, and thus 
they do the work he wishes to have done, and this work is 
truly said to have been instilled into the subjects by the 
prince, for without him it would not have been done. Now 
no man can instil into the soul of another, nor into his own 
soul, true faith, and the mind, will and work of Christ, 
but this Christ Himself must do. For ndther pope nor 
bishop can produce faith in a man's heart, nor anything 
else a Christian member should have. But a Christian 
must have the mind and will which Christ has in heaven, as 
the apostle says, I. Corinthians ii. It may also happen that > Cor. 
a Christian member has the faith which neither pope nor *!* 
bishop has; how then can the pope be his head? And if the 
pope cannot give to himself the life of the spiritual church, 
how can he instil it into another? Who has ever seen a 
live animal with a lifeless head? TTie head mtist give life to 
the body, and therefore it is clear that on earth there is no 
other head of the ^)iritual Christendom but Christ alone. 

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338 The Papa(7 at Rome 

Moreover, if a man were its head here below, Christendom 
would perish as often as a pope dies. For the body camiot 
live when the head is dead. 

It follows further, that in this Church Christ can have 
no vicar, and therefore neither pope nor bishop is Christ's 
vicar or regent in this Church, nor can he ever become sucb. 
And this is proved as follows: A regent, if obedient to his 
lord, labors with and urges on the subjects and instils into 
them the same work which his lord himself instils, just as 
we see in temporal government, where there is one mind 
and will in lord, regents, and subjects. And if he were 
more holy than St. Peter, the pope can never instU into or 
create in a Christian man the work of Christ his Lord, i. e., 
faith, hope, love, and every grace and virtue. 

And if such illustration and proof were not without flaw, 
though founded on the Scriptures, yet St. Paul stands strong 
and immovable in Ephesians iv, giving to Christendom but 
" one head and saying, "Let us be true (i. e., not external, 
but real and true Christians) and grow up into Him in all 
things, which is the head, even Christ, from Whom the 
whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that 
which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual 
working in the measure of every part, maketh increase 
of the body unto the edifying of itself in love." Here the ' 
apostle says clearly that the building up and increase of 
Christendom, which is the body of Christ, cometh alone 
from Christ, Who is its Head. And where can there be 
found another head on earth to whom such nature could 
be ascribed, eg)eciaJly since these "heads" in most cases 
have neither love nor faith? Besides, St. Paul referred 
in these words to himself, to St. Peter, and to every other 
Christian; and if another head were necessary he would 
have been utterly false in saying nothing about it 

I know very well that there are some who dare to say 
in reference to this and similar pass^es that thotigh Paul 
was silent, he did not thereby deny that St. Peter was also 
a head, but was feeding the unwise with milk. Just listen 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Leqizig 359 

to this: they claim that it is necessary for salvation to have 
St. Peter for a head, and yet they have the effrontery to 
say that Paul concealed the things which are necessary to 
salvation. Thus these senseless goats would rather blas- 
pheme Paul and the Word of God than be convinced of their 
error, and they call it "milk for babes" when Christ is pro- 
claimed, and "strong meat" when St. Peter is proclaimed, 
just as if Peter were higher, greater, and more difficult to 
understand than Christ himself. And this is called explain- 
ing the Scriptures and overcoming Dr. Luther; this is the 
way to run out of the rain and fall into the trough. What 
could such babblers iiccomplish if we should have a dis- 
putation with the Bohemians* and the heretics? Truly 
nothing, except that we should be made a mockery for all, 
and give them due cause to look upon us all as blustering 
idiots, and they become more strongly entrenched in their 
own belief through the foolishness of our ^de. 
i But then you ask: If the prelates are neither heads nor n* 
regents of tWs spiritual Church, what are they? Bjio^tj 

Let the laymen answer this, when they say: St. Peter is Buhop* 
a messenger* and the other apostles are messengers too. 
Why should the pope be ashamed to be a messenger, if 
St. Peter himself is no more? But beware, ye laymen, or 
the super-learned Romanists will bum you at the stake as 
heretics because ye would make the pope a messenger and 
letter-carrier. But ye have a strong argument, for the 
Greek Apostolosisin German "messenger," and thus 
are they called throughout the Gospel. 

If, then, they are all messengers of the one Lord Christ, 
who would be so fooli^ as to say that so great a lord, in a 
matter of such great importance for the whole world, sends 
but one messenger, and he, in turn, sends other messengers 
of his own? Then St. Peter would have to be called, not a 
ZwOlfbote (one of the twelve messengers), but an only- 

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360 The Papacy at Rtmw 

messenger, and none of the others would remain Z w 1 f - 
b o t e n , but they would all be St. Peter's E If b o t e n 
(i. e., his eleven messengers). But what is the custom 
at court? Is it not true that a lord has many messengers? 
Aye, when does it happen that many messengers are sent 
with the same message to one place, as now we have priest, 
bishop, archbishop and pope, all ruling over the same city, 
not to mention other tyrants, who shove in their rule 
somewhere between the rest? Christ sent all the apostles 
into the world with His Word and message with full, equal 
powers, as St. Paul says: "We are ambassadors for Christ." 
' And in I. Corinthians iii. he says: "What is Peter? What 
is Paul? Servants through whom ye believed." This 
ambassadorship means to feed, to rule, to be bishop, and so 
forth. But that the pope makes all the messengers of God 
to be subject to himself, is the same as if one messenger 
of a prince detained all the other messengers, and then sent 
them out when it suited his pleasure, while he himself 
went nowhere. Woidd that be pleasing to the prince, if 
lie found it out? 

Should you say: True, but one messenger may be above 
another ; I would reply : One may indeed be better and more 
skilful than another, as St. Paul was when compared with 
Peter; but since they bring one and the same message, one 
cannot be above another by reason of his ofl&ce. But, put 
the other way, St. Peter is not a 2w6lfbote at all, but 
a special messenger and lord over the Eleven. What can it 
be that one has above the others, if they all have one and 
the same message and commission from the one Lord? 

Forasmuch then as all bishops are equal by divine ri^t 
and sit in the Apostles' places, I may gladly concede that 
by human right one is above the other in the external 
Church. For here the pope instils what is in his own mind, 
as, for instance, his Canon Law and human inventions, 
whereby Christendom is nUed with outward show; but that 
does not make Christians, as I have said above ;• neither are 

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An Ansver to the Cdebrated Romanist at Leqajg 361 

they heretics who are not under the same laws and cere- 
monies or human ordinances. For customs change with 
the country. 

All this is confinned by the article in the Creed: "I 
believe in the Holy Ghost, one Holy Christian Church, the 
Communion of Saints." No one says: "I beUeve in the 
Holy Ghost, one Holy Roman Church, a Communion of 
the Romans." Thus it is clear that the Holy Church is 
not bound to Rome, but is as wide as the world, the as- 
sembly of those of one faith, a spiritual and not a bodily 
thing, for that which one believes is not bodily or visible. 
The external Roman Church we all see, therefore it cannot 
be the true Church, which is believed, and which is a com- 
munity or assembly of the saints in faith, for no one can 
see who is a saint or a believer. 

The external marks, whereby one can perceive where The 
this Church is on earth, are baptism, the Sacrament, and g,^, 
the Gospel; and not Rome, or this place, or that. For chureh 
where baptism and the Gospel are, no one may doubt that 
' there are saints, even if it were only the babes in their 
cradles. But neither Rome nor the papal power is a mark 
of the Church,* for that power cannot make Christians, as 
baptism and the Gospel do; and therefore it does not belong 
to the true Church* and is but a human ordinance. 

Therefore I would advise this Romanist to go to school 
another year, and to learn what the Church or the head of 
the Church* really means, before he drives out the poor 
heretics with writings of such height, depth, breadth and 
length. It grieves me to the heart that we must suffer 
these mad swits to tear asunder and blaspheme the Holy 
Scriptures with such insolence, license, and shamelessness, 
and that they make bold to deal with the Scriptures, where- 
as they are not fit to care for a herd of swine. Heretofore 
I have held that where something was to be proved by the 
Scriptures, the Scriptures quoted must really refer to the 
point at issue. I learn now that it is enough to throw 

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36a The Papacy at Rome 

many passages together helter-skelter, whether they are 
fit or not. If this is to be the way, then I can easily 
prove from the Scriptures that beer is better than 

Of the same character is his statement in both bis Latin 
and his German treatise* that Christ is the head of the 
Turks, heathen. Christians, heretics, robbers, harlots and 
knaves. It would be no wonder if all the stone and timb^ 
in the cloister stared and hooted this miserable wretch to 
death for his hoirible blasphemy. What shall I say? 
Has Christ become a ke^>er of all the houses of shame, a 
head of all the murderers, of all heretics, of all rogues? 
Woe unto thee, thou miserable wretch, that thou thus bold- 
est up thy Lord for all the world to blaspheme ! The poor 
man would write about the head of Christendom, and in 
utter madnes3 imagines that "head" and "Lord" are one 
and the same. Christ is, indeed,Lotd of all things, of all the 
good and the evil, of the angets and the devils, the virgins and 
the harlots; but He is not the head, except only of the good, 
beUeving Christians, assembled in the spirit. For a head 
must be united with its body, as I showed above from St. 
Paul in Ephesians iv,» and the members must cleave to the 
head and recdve from it their activity and life. For this 
reason Christ cannot be the head of an evil community, 
although it is subject unto Him as Lord; even as His king- 
dom, namely Christendom, is not a bodily community or 

^liUnBy, "Rutmm better than nuIvoUe." "Rastrum" was ■ Leipds beer 
leported to be atnordioarily bsd; "malvoisie," ■ bii^ piiied, imported wine^ 
known ta England u "malDuey." 

* In the Gennan trestue Alveld nrir "It ii not mough to have Christ fat ■ Aep- 
hen) or * bead; il that woe suffident, all the heathoi, all the Jem, all the enorittt, 
an the heretics would be true Christians, Christ Is a lord, a guardian, a shepherd, a 
bead of the whde world, whetbei we want Him or not." (Weimar Ed.. VI, 
301} Id the Latin he says: "No cimmunity or assembly (clviHtai seu pln- 
r a 1 1 1 a s) of men can be rightly administered except in the unity of a bewl. under 
the Head Jems Christ." This pn^waition he devdop* in detail, sayfot that 
"Nobrothd (contubeinium meret r icum), no band of thievea, plun- 
dcten and robben, no company of soldien can be niVed. or held t«aetber, or Ims 
exist wttbout a governor, chief and lotd. that ii to My, wtthout one bouL" 
(Welmat Ed., VI, 178). 

' See above, p. 358. 

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An Answer to tiie Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 363 

kingdom, yet all things are subject unto TUm, be they 
spiritual or bodily, of hell or of heaven. 

Thus in bis first argument this reviler vilified and slan- 
dered me; in this second argument he reviled Christ much 
more than me. For even if he thinks much of his own holy 
prayers and fastings in contrast to a poor sinner like me, 
yet he has not called me a brothelkeeper and archknave, as 
he has Christ. 

Now comes the third argument, in which the high majesty m. n* 
of God is made a target, and the Holy Spirit becomes a lifur ^^,' 
and a heretic, so that by all means the contention of the (ton 
Romanists may be upheld. ^»^ 

The third argument is taken from the Scriptures, just 
as the second was taken from reason and the first from 
folly, so that everything may be done in proper order. 
It runs as follows: Hie Old Testament was a type of the 
New Testament, and because it had a bodily tdgh-priest, 
the New Testament must have one likewise — how else shall 
the type be fulfilled? For has not Christ Himself said: 
"Not one jot or tittle of the law shall pass away ; it shall all u»tt. 
be fulfilled"? ' •' 

A book more foolish, senseless, and blind I have never 
seen. Once before, another* wrote the same thing against 
me, so coarse and fooUsh that I could not but scom it. 
But because they have not sharpened their wits, I must 
speak bluntly for the thickheads; I see that the ass does 
not appredate a harp, I must offer him thistles. 

In the first place, it is evident that a type b material and Typeud 
external, and the fulfilment of the t^pe is spiritual and ''^* 
internal; what the type reveals to the bodily eye, its ful- 
filment must reveal to the eye of faith alone, or it is not 
really a fulfilment. 

I must prove that by illustration. By many miracles the 

'Jmnw Emict, Ds dliputatioae Lipilc«a*« ud A vena- 
tlooe LutetikDi 4«c4c«tatl« atiettlo. 

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364 Tti« Papacy at Rome 

Jewish people came in a bodily maimer out of the bodily land 
Ex- of Egypt, as is written in the book of Exodus. This type 
'^■' ' does not mean that we, too, shall in a bodily manner come 
out of Egypt, but that our souls by a right faith shall come 
forth from sins and the spiritual power of the devil; so that 
the bodily assembly of the Jewish people signifies the spirit- 
ual and internal assembly of the Christian people in faith. 
Thus, as they drank water from a bodily rock, and ate bod- 
ily manna with the bodily mouth, so with the mouth of the 
1 Cor. heart we drink and eat of the spiritual Rock, the Lord 
Nun* * Christ, when we believe in Him. Again, Moses set a ser- 
11:8 pent on a pole, and whosoever looked upon it was made 
whole. That signifies Christ on the Cross; whosoever be- 
lieveth in Him, is saved. And so throughout the entire 
Old Testament, all the bodily, visible things in it signify 
in the New Testament spiritual and inward things, which 
one cannot see, but possesses only in faith. 
St. Augustine understood the types in this manner, 
jobn when he says* on John iii, "This is the difference between 
^''* the type and its fulfilment: the type gave temporal goods 
and life, but the fulfilment gives spiritual and eternal life." 
Now the outward show of Roman power can gjve neither 
temporal nor eternal life, and therefore it is not only no 
fulfilment of the type of Aaron, but far less than the type, 
for that was estabUshed by divine directioo. For if the 
papacy could give either eternal or temporal fife, all the 
popes would be saved and be in good health. But he 
who has Christ and the spiritual Church, is truly saved and 
has the fulfilment of the type, yet only in faith. And since ' 
the pope's external ^ow and the oneness of his Church 
can be seen with the eyes, and we all see it, it is not possible 
that he can be the fulfilment of any type. For the fulfil- 
2" _ ment of types must not be seen, but believed. 
Priait Now see — are they not skilful masters who make the 
^^^ high-priest of the Old Testament to be a type of the pope, 
the Pop* when the latter makes as much, nay more of an external 

> Aufiutiiie, I D JoiDDii £v.,ii,3,ii. (Mitne Ed.,3S. t4g*t 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Le^zig 365 

show than the fonner, and thus a bodily thing is made to 
be the fulfilment of a bodily type ! That would mean that 
type and fulfilment are ezacUy alike. But if this type is 
to stand, the new high-priest must be spiritual, and his 
graces and adornment likewise spiritual. The prophets 
also saw this when they said of us. Psalm oncdi, "Thy Ps. 13*9 
priests shall be clothed with faith or righteousness, and 
Thine anointed ones shall be adorned with joy." As if 
he would say: Our priests are types, and are clothed ex- 
ternally with silks and purples, but your priests shall be 
clothed with grace inwardly. Thus is this miserable Rom- 
anist routed with his "type," and ius jumbling together of 
much Scripture has been in vain. For the pope is an ex- 
ternal priest, and they think of him in his external power 
and adornment. Ilierefore Aaron cannot have been a 
type of him; we must have another. 

In the second place — in order that they may realize Sai^- 
how far they are from the truth — even if they had been wise ^[Jj, 
enough to give a spiritual fulfilment to the type, yet i»tw- 
that would not stand the test, imless they had a clear SSUH^ 
passage &om the Scriptures, which brought the type and 
its sjaritual fulfilment together; otherwise every one could 
make out of it what he desired. For instance, that the 
serpent lifted up by Moses signifies Christ, is taught by 
John iii. If it were not for that passage my reason John 3:14 
might evolve very strange and weird fancies out of that 
type. Again, that Adam was a type of Christ, I learn 
not from myself, but from St. Paul in Romans v. Again, Rom. 
that the rock in the wilderness signifies Christ, is not so '"'* 
stated by my reason, but by St. Paul in I. Corinthians x. t Car. 
Therefore, let none other explain the type but the Holy '*^ 
Spirit Himself, Who has given the type and wrought the 
fulfilment, in order that both promise and performance, 
type and fulfilment, and the interpretation of both, may 
be God's own and not man's, and our faith be founded not 
on human, but on divine works and words. 

What leads the Jews astray but that they interpret 

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366 The Piracy at Rome 

the types as they please, without the Scriptures? What has 
led so many heretics astray but the interptetatiou of the 
types without reference to the Scriptures? And though 
the pope were something ^nritual, yet even then it would 
count for nothing if I made Aaron to be his type, unless I 
could point to a passage where it is eiplidtly stated: 
Behold, Aaron was a type of the pope. Otherwise who 
could prevent me from assuming that Aaron was a type of 
the bi^op of Prague? St. Augustine has stated that types 
are not valid in controversy unless supported by the Scrip- 

But now this poor chatterbox has neither: no ^iritual, 
inward high-priest and no passage of the Scriptures; he 
goes at it blindly with bis own dreams, and assumes as his 
ba^ that Aaron was the type of St. Peter, the very thing 
which is in greatest need of foundation and proof, and he 
just goes on prattling that the law must be fulfilled and 
not one iota omitted. My dear Romanist, who has ever 
doubted that the law of the Old Testament and its types 
must be fulfilled in the New? There was no need of your 
scholarship to establish that. But here you might nu^ a 
great show and demonstrate by your ingenuity that this 
fulfilment occurs in Peter or in the pope. You are as mute 
as a stick when it is time to speak out, and a chatterbox 
when speech is unnecessary. Have you not learned your 
logic better than that? You argue your major premises, 
which no one questions, and assume the correctness of 
your minor premises, which every one questions, and then 
you draw the conclu^on to suit yourself. 

1 Listen to me, I will ^ve you a better lesson in logic. 
I agree with you in saying: All that is tyinfied by the 
high-priest in the Old Testament must be fulfilled in the 
New, as St. Paul says in I. Corinthians i. Thus far we 

' agree. Now you continue: St. Peter, or the pqie, was 

typified by Aaron. Here I say. Nay. And what can 

you do then? Now show your leannng, and call the 

I Cf . Anputine, O c unitatc eceloiBC. j,8. (Mlflne Ed. ,43.3961-) 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Ltifzig 367 

whole crowd of Romanists to assist you, bring just one jot 
or tittle from the Scriptures in defence, and I will call you 
a hero. On what foundation have you builded, however? 
On your own dreams; and yet you boast you will argue 
against me with the Scriptures. It was not necessary for 
you thus to play the fool against me, I should have had a 
fool to overcome at any rate. 

Listen to me further: I say that Aaron was a type of A«tra a 
Christ, and not of the pope. And when I say this, I do ^Stt** 
not utter my own invention, as you do; but I will prove it, 
so that neither you, nor the worid, nor all the devils shall 
overthrow it. In the first place, Christ is a spiritual priest 
for the inner man; for He ^tteth in heaven, and maketh 
intercession for us as a priest, teaches us inwardly in the 
heart, and does everything a priest should do in mediating 
betweenGodandman, as St. Paul says, Romans iii, and the Km>. 
whole Epistle to the Hebrews. Aaron, the type, is bodily ^''^ 
and external, but the fulfilment is spiritual and inward, 
and the two agree together. 

Secondly, in order not to bring my own thoughts, I have 
the passage, Psahn ex, "The Lord hath sworn and will not ?*■ 110:4 
repent: Thou art a priest forever after the order of Mel- 
chizedek." Can you also bring a passage like that about 
St. Peter or the pope? For I think that you will not deny 
that this passage refers to Christ, as St. Paul, in Hebrews v. ua. 5:6 
and at many other places, and our Lord Christ Himself, 
in Matthew zxii, so explain it. Thus we can see how beau- Bbtt 
tifully the Romanists treat the Scriptures and make out **'** 
of them what they like, as if they were a nose of wax, to be 
pulled around at will. 

Now we have proved by the Scriptures that Christ is the 
High-priest of the New Testament. Clearer still is Paul's 
comparison of Aaron and Christ in Hebrews ix, when he Hcb. 
says: "Into the first tabernacle the priests went every *' 
day, to offer the sacrifices; but into the second went the 
high-priest alone once every year, not without blood, which 
he offered for himself and for the sin of the people. The 

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368 The Papacy at Rome 

Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way to the true, holy 
tabernacle was not yet made manifest, while the first 
tabernacle was yet standing, which was a type or figure 
needful for the time then present. But Christ being come, 
a high-priest of ^iritual possessions to come, by a greater 
and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is 
to say, not of this temporal building: neither by the blood 
of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in 
once into the holy place, having obtained an eternal re- 

What do you say to this, my super-learned Romanist? 
Paul says: The high-priest typified Christ; you say, St. 
Peter. Paul says, Christ entered not into a temporal 
building; you say, He is in the temporal building at Rome. 
Paul says. He entered in once, and hath obtained an eternal 
redemption, and makes the type to be altogether spiritual 
and heavenly, which you make to be earthly and extemaL 
What can you do now? My advice is this: Clench your 
fist, smite him on the jaw, and say he is a liar, a heretic, a 

I Kiagi. poisoner, just as you do to me; and you will be like your 

"''* father Zedekiab, who smote Klicaiah on the che^. Do 

you not see, wretched blasphemer, whither your coun- 

johns^ sellers and your own madness have brou^t you? Where 
are they now, those big-wigs, who interdicted my sermon 
on both kinds in the Sacrament?' It served them right. 
They would not tolerate nor hear the Gospel, and now 
they shall hear instead the lies and blasphemies of the Evil 

John s-43 Spirit, even as Christ says to the Jews, "I am come in My 
Father's name, and ye receive Me not; another shall come 
in his own name, him ye will receive." 

But you might say, St. Peter too is typified by Aaron, 
along with Christ; and I answer, if you must keep on, you 

•tnhUSernion vom Sacrament des Leichnam* Chrlitl of 
■519 (Weimar Ed., II, 141 ff.) Luthahad made a [dea for tbe restocatioa of the 
cup to the laity. At the request of Duke George of Suony, tbeblibt^ol Mda«n 
(Jan. zoth, 1510) forbade the drcuUtiixi of this tract in his diocese (Weimar 
Ed., VI, Tfi; Uadeiats, Luther. I, 316). The raotroveny, to wUcb Ltrtber 
contributed hliVericllruDg etlUber At tilt el, etc. (Wet mar Ed.. 
VI, 78 fi.), wa» bitterest in the Ldpiig drcte to whidi Alveld belonfcd. 

An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Le^olg 369 

could also say that Aaron was a type of the Turk; and who 
could prevent you, since you delight in such senseless 
chatter. But you have given promise to argue from the 
Scriptures; now do it, and leave your dreams at home. 
Moreover, where faith is concerned, one must contend not 
with uncertain Scripture texts, but with those that refer 
to the issue in a way that is certain, clear, and simple; 
otherwise the Evil Spirit would toss us hither and yon, until 
at last we should not know at all where we were; just as 
has happened to many with these little words, F e t r s 
and P e t r a * in Matthew zvi. Hau. 

It would have been something less of a lie and a bias- '^""^ 
phemy for you to have said that Aaron was a type of 
Christ and also of St. Peter. But now you jxist scream 
with all your mi^t that Aaron was not a type of Christ, 
but of St. Peter, and wantonly you strike St. Paul in the 
face. And in order that nothing may be lacking in this 
perfect piece of folly, you go on to say : Moses was a type 
of Christ. And you say this not only without any cause 
or indication in the Scriptures — ^just as if you were more 
than God, and everything which you emit must be taken 
for Gospel — ^but contrary to all the Scriptures, which make 
Moses a type of the Law, as St. Paul does in 11. Corin- tCor.s 
thians iii. It is not necessary to go into this just now, else 
you might strike him on the jaw again in your wantonness 
and insolence. Such venom you have imbibed from that 
man Emser's heretical and blasphemous output,* which I 
will give the answer it deserves when Sir Knight Eck comes 
along with his flourish.* You cannot carry it off in that 
way, my dear Romanists. I cannot prevent it by force, 
but you shall not bring any Scripture in support of it. 
Praise God, I am not quite ready to bite the dust. 

t Sc« pp. 313 and jSo. 

'A rderencc to Enaa't De diiputntione Llpsfcenie, aod A 
venationc Luterikiia acgocerotis aiicrtlo.Metbove, p.jAj. 

* Luthet'i irectiDs to a faitbaMniiig and much heralded woA of Eck'^ wUch 
•ppnred under the title De prlmatu Petri. 

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370 The Paptcy at Rome 

TjpM Now it is clear, I take it, that the third argument of 

^J^^ this Romanist is rank heresy and blasjdiemy, for it flatly 
contradicts God the Holy Ghost and makes Him a liar, 
and utterly demolishes St. Paul. For ^nce Aaron is a 
type of Christ, he cannot be a type of St. Peter. For 
what the Scriptures ascribe to Christ must not be ascribed 
to any other, so that the Scriptures may ever have one sim- 
ple, direct, indisputable meaning, on which our faith may 

Eiod. rest without wavering. This I will grant, that Peter is one 

iS:i7ff. q£ ^g twelve precious stones in the breas^late of Aaron, 

whereby there may be s^ni£ed that the twelve Apostles, 

chosen in Christ, and known from all eternity, are the highest 

and most precious jewels in Christend<mi, but I can never 

I Einp, allow Peter to become Aaron. Again, I will admit that St. 

"''' Peter is one of the twelve lions that stood be^de Solomon's 

great throne, but Christ must remain for me the one King 

Eiod. Solomon. I will let the twelve Apostles be the twelve wells 
'*''' of water in the wilderness of Elim, on this condition, how- 
ever, that the bright cloud and pillar shall be nothing 
other than Christ himself. And just as little as the power 
of any one of these twelve extends over the others, so little 
does Peter have power over the other ^>ostles, and the 
pope over other bishops and priests, by divine right. 
One thii^ more, my good, dear Romanists, and then I 
I ask most gradously for a correct answer. 
If Aaron was a type of the pc^ in external authority, 

^ Aura vestments and state, why was he not a type in all other 

external and bodily matters; if it holds in one thing, why 

not in all the others? 

^^- It is written that the high-priest shall not take a widow or 

a divorced woman, but shall wed a vir^; why do they not 

c«abM7 give the pope a virgin to wed, so that the type may be ful- 
filled? Nay, why does the pope forbid matrimony to the 
whole priesthood, not only contrary to the Old Testament 
type, but also in opposition to God, and against rig^t, 
reason, and nature, a thing which be has no authority, nor 
power, nor right to do, and over which the Church has 

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Ao Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 371 

never exercised authority, nor should it ever do so. So 
by his own caprice, without need, he has caused Christen- 
dom to be filled with whores, ^nners, and guilty con- 
sciences, as St. Paul says of him, I. Timothy iv: "In the i Tim 
latter times some shall depart from the iidth, giving heed ^■' 
to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking Ues in 
hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, 
forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from 
meats, which God hath created, etc." 

Does Paul herein not hit the Roman laws, which forbid 
the priesthood to marry, and conunand all Christians to 
abstain from butter, eggs, milk, and meats on certain days, 
while God Himself has left it to the free choice of Christians 
in every estate to eat or to many, as they desire? Where 
are you now, my Romanist of the observance, with all 
your ranting that not one detail of the Old Testament 
type shaU be omitted, and that every iota must be ful- 
filled? Yea, where is the pope, the successor of St. Peter, 
who was married, as was St. Paul' and all the Apostles? 

Again, the Old Testament hi^-priest was not per- Lev- ■■ 
mitted to have his head shorn. But why does the pope Tli« 
have a tonsure, and all the other priests, too? Wherein ^ 
is the type fulfilled here to the very dot? Again, the 
Hi^-priest was forbidden to own any portion of Israel's 
hind, but subsisted entirely on the offerings of the people. 
Pray, why is the occupant of the papal throne so furious 
to possess the whole world, and has not only stolen lands and 
cities, principalities and kingdoms,* but has arrogated to 
himself the power to make kings and princes, seat and un- 
seat and change them according to his pleasure, as if he were 
Antichrist. Wherein is there here a fulfilment of the type? 

Again, the Old Testament high-priest was a subject woildij 
imder the rule of the kings. Why then does the pope have ^^^ 
men kiss his feet, and aspire to be king of kings, which 

' Thia itttement cunot be nitwUDtisUd. But we commentaries on Acts 96:iof. 
'The memoiy ol the warlike tad avarldoiw pope Juliiu n. waa atill fresh ia 
the mind of Luther and bis coatemponuie*. 

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373 The Papacy at Rome 

Christ Himself did not? Wherein is the type fulfilled here? 
Again, the high-priest was circumcised. And, finally, if 
having the external things in the New Testament identical 
with those of the Old be the fulfilment of types, why do 
we not become Jews ag^ and keep the whole law of Moses? 
If we must observe it in one particular, why not in all? 
If not in all, why in one? 
Holj If it be defied to elevate the New Testament above the 

ihidn ^' ^''^ ^ ^^ matter of outward splendor, would it not be 
the reasonable to suppose that there should be more than one 
f^j high'priest in the New Testament, to make it more splendid 
and glorious than the Old, which did not have more than 
one? If reason should judge in this case and follow its 
own bent, what do you suppose it would doP Again, in 
the time of the Old Testament high-priest there were many 
holy men who were not under him, such as Job and hb 
family — for he was not alone. Likewise the king of 
Babylon, the queen of Sbeba, the widow of Zarephath, the 
prince Naaman of Syria, and many others in Eastern lands, 
together with their families, who are all commended in the 
Scriptures. Why does not the type hold in these instances, 
even to the letter? And yet the pope will let no one be a 
Christian except he be subject to him, and buy his seals 
and parchments at any price his Romanists please to 
charge. Or do the Romanists have power to interpret 
types as they please and as far as they please, without any 
warrant of the Scriptures? 

Do you not see, my good Romanist, how envy and 
hatred have blinded you and your kind? Would it not have 
been a more seemly thing for you to have remained in 
your cell praying your vigils until you had been called or 
urged into this case? You do not know what a type is 
or ^gnifies, and yet you boast of being a teacher and 
master of all the Holy Scriptures.' Yea, veiily, a master 

^ Ahr^ AO aiuiduiiotd hfmtfU in Um title of Ua LaIid tocatiflc. In onler to ^bi 
tbe necessBcy Idsure tot iti ccmpoatioii he hul obtiined k diipamtiOD baa all tha 
ch^id •ervicM of lui moDUtei?. SceWelmar Ed., VI, 177. 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Le^oig 373 

in coTTupting the Scriptures, and blaspheming God, and 
libeling truth. Come again, my dear Romanist, and I 
will deck you with lilies and give you for a new year's 
present^ to those who have sent you. 

I, too, desire to say one thing that is not in the Scriptures. 
In all estates which God has appmnted there are always 
some who are saved, and no estate is without Uving saints 
on earth, as Christ says, Luke xvii, "Two men shall be in Luke 
one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left," etc. "^ 
If the papacy were from God it would be impossble for a 
pope to be damned, becaitse there is but one person at a 
time in that estate, and whoever became pope would 
thereby be assiu^ of his salvation; which is contrary to all 
the Scriptiures. 

Now let us see bow these [nous people treat the holy Tba 
words of Christ in this case. Christ says to St. Peter, f^v^ 
Matthew xvi: "Thou art, or art called, Peter; and on datioaoi 
the Petram{i.e.,on the rock) I will build My Church. ^^ 
And I will ^ve imto thee the keys of the kingdom of Matt. 
heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be '^-'' 
bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, 
shall be loosed in heaven." From these words they have 
claimed the keys for St. Peter alone; but the same Matthew 
has barred such erroneous interpretation in the xviii. 
chapter, where Christ says to all in conunon, "Verily, I Matt. 
say imto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth, shall be '^''^ 
bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth, 
shall be loosed in heaven." It is clear that Christ here in- 
terprets His own words, and in this xviii. chapter explains 
the former xvi. ; namely, that the keys are given to St. Peter 
in the stead of the whole Church,* and not for his own person. 
Thus also John, in the last chapter, "He breathed on them J«bn 
and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye "'■" 
remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins 

ii very phni« la "Mcny WivM 

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374 ^0 Papacy at Rome 

ye retain, they are retained." To maintain the sole author- 
ity of St. Peter, when there are two texts against one, many 
men have labored in vain. But the Gospel is too clear, and 
they have had to admit until now that in the first passage 
nothing special was given to St. Peter for his own person. 
Thus it was also understood by many of the ancient 
Church fathers. It is likewise proved by the words of 
Christ just before He gave the keys to St. Peter, where 
M»tt. He asks not Peter only, but all of them: "What think ye of 
'* " Me?" Then Peter answers for them aU, "Thou art Christ, 
M«tt. the Son of the living God." Therefore the words in Mat- 
'*''* thew xvi. must be understood in accordance with the words 
^^''■^ in chapter zviii. and in John zx, and one passage must not 
jdu be explained in a manner contrary to two strong ones, but 
"•'■" the one be properly explained by the two. The proof is all 
the stronger where there are two instead of only one, and 
it is but fair that one should follow the two, and not two 
the one. 
Equiit; It is plain, therefore, that all the apostles were equal to 
jJJ*"'* Peter in all matters of authority. "Iliis is shown by their 
AportM acts as well as by their words, for Peter never selected an 
apostle, nor made, confirmed, sent out, or ruled over one; 
although if he had been thdr superior by divine appoint- 
ment this would have had to be, or all of them would have 
been heretics. Moreover, all of the apostles together could 
not make St Matthias and St. Paul apostles, but this must 
needs be done from heaven, as it is written in Acts i. and 
**• xiii. How then could St. Peter alone be lord over them 
\'y» all? ThisUttle nut no one has been able to crack as yet, 
and I trust they will be so gracious, even against tbetr will, 
to leave it uncracked a while longer. 
AnthoT- And just as this Romanist boasts that the p^ul chair 
^•>«»w survives in spite of repeated assaults on its authority,* 
Twni so I, too, boast that the Roman See ofttimes, and to this 

* Alvdd bad tMtd that the attempt had been made "mole than 13 dma"; and 
again. The tmaabiy tmt existed more than 1486 yean uodct the dtalt of St. Peter 
which Chrbt bat ertablished." SeeWeinat Ed., VI. 

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An Answer to the Celebrated RomaniBt at Le^zig 375 

very day, has striven in mad frenzy for such power, yet has 
never been able to attain it, and, God willing, shall never 
attain it. It is an utter farce when a man boasts that he 
has always kept what he has never had. Why does not 
our dear Romanist boast also that the dty of Leipzig has 
never been taken away from him, in which he does not even 
have a house? It would be a boast of equal value with the 
other. So they chatter on incessantly; anything that comes 
to their tongues is blurted out. Therefore, I say, that 
though the Roman tyrants have striven hard against the 
Gospel, to take the common power of the Church and make 
it their own, yet the word of Christ still stands, "The Mitt, 
powers of hell shall not prevail against it." Now if this "*"'* 
power had been given to the pope by divine right, God 
would not have desisted; at some time it would have 
been fulfilled. For he says that "not a jot or letter shall Mm. 
remain unfulfilled." But in the extension of Roman ^'' 
power over all Christendom not one letter has ever been 

And it does not help to say, it is not the fault of the 
Romans, but of the heretics, tiiat it has not been fulfilled. 
Heretic here, heretic there 1 God's order and promise 
cannot be hindered or prevented by the gates of hell, much 
less by the heretics; surely He is strong enough to make 
true His own Word, without the help of heretics. And 
inasmuch as He has never done so, and leaves it unfulfilled 
to this day, regardless of all the zeal, diligence, toil and 
labor, and cunning and trickery besides, which the Romans 
have expended on it, I hope it is sufficiently established 
just what the pope's authority is, beyond that of other 
bishops and priests; namely, that it is of human and not of 
divine right. Christ's kingdom has been at all times Ps. a-S 
in all the world, as is written in Psalms ii. and xix, but ^^ ""* 
never was it entirely under the pope, even for one hour, in ,^^ 
^ite of those who say otherwise. p»- 

Although all this is well-established truth, we shall "■■• 
nevertheless proceed to demolish their idle fairy-tales still om 


376 The Papacy at Rome 

more, and say: Even if it were not valid that the two 
Hut. sayings in Matthew and John, which make the power of 
jah^"''^tbe kQ^ a conmion possession, should explain the one 
m:i3 saying of Matthew, which sounds as if the keys were gjven 
to Peter alone; yet the case cannot proceed any further 
than to establish a doubt, whether the one passage shall 
interpret the two, or the two the one, and I hold as tena- 
ciously to the two, as they to the one. Furthermore, 
that doubt ^ves certainty to us, so that it is entirely for us 
to say whether we will have the pope for a head or not. 
For where a matter is in doubt, no one is a heretic, whether 
he hold to one view or to another; this they themselves ad- 
mit. And thus their argument again is brought to naught, 
and they can produce nothing but uncertainty and doubt. 
Therefore they must either give up all three passages as 
inadequate to establish their case, since their meaning is 
obscure; or else they must dte others, which e^lidtly indi- 
cate that the two must be interpreted by the one. This 
they cannot do; I defy them to try it. 

But I will cite passages by whidi I shall prove that the 
one passage must follow the two. 
Dent- Thus saith the Law — and Christ quotes it in Matthew 
^^^'^ xviii — , "Every case shall be established throu^ the mouth 
iS:t6 of two or three witnesses, but at the mouth of one witness 
shall no man be put to death." And ^ce I have two wit- 
nesses agfunst one, my case takes precedence, and the one 
passage must follow the two; namely, that Peter recdved 
the keys not as Peter, but in the stead of the Church,* as 
Matthew zviii. and John xx. dearly say, and not as Peter 
alone, as Matthew xvi. seems to say. 

Moreover, I am astounded at the great arrogance by 
which they would make the power of the keys a ruling 
power, which really fits together as well as winter and 
summer. For a ruling power means far more than the 
power of the keys. The power of the keys extends only to 


An Answer to th« Celebrated Romanist at Le^zig 377 

the Sacrament of Penance,' to bind and loose the sins, as 
Matthew zviii. and John xz. clearly state; but a ruling um. 
power extends likewise to those who are pious and have joto*''* 
naught to be bound or loosed; its scope includes preach- »>-3i 
ing, exhorting, consoling, sayit^ mass, giving the Sacra- 
ment, etc. liierefore, none of the three passages fits the 
power of the pope over all Christendom, except he were 
made the one confessor, or penitentiary,* or anathematizer, 
to riile only over the wicked and the sinners, which is not 
their desire at all. And if these words should establish 
the papal power over all Christians, I should very much 
like to know who could absolve the pope when he sins. 
He must certainly remain in his sins; ndther will it do for 
him to transfer his power to another for his own absolution, 
for that would make him a heretic in acting contrary to 
divine command. 

Some have invented the fiction that the pope's person ^"J"^ 
and office are two different things;* that the person can osce 
be made subject to another, but not the office. That 
glitters for a moment, but is, in truth, like all such wares. 
For in their own laws, with great ado and show, they have 
forbidden any bishop of a lower rank to confirm a pope, 
although this confirmation is not the institution of the 
office, but the induction of the person into the office. 
And if in this case the person is not subject to any one, 
surely the same is true in absolution. But in all their 
doii^ and glosses and interpretations, thdr minds are In a 
whirl, and they say now this and now that; and in tbeir 
twisting of God's Word they lose its true sense, fo^et 
where they are, go completely astray, and yet they would 
rule the whole world. J^ 

Therefore let every Christian believe that in these pas- otnm 
sages Christ does not gpve either to St. Peter or to the ^^^ 
other Apostles the power to rule, or to soar so high. What chuck 

* Stm the oU Unntnolocy. 

* Bqahralent to fathcr-conlaior. Tbe pope'* a*n coDlcMOt b m aDcd. 
*Atvdd nuka thb diMlncUoa b both ot Ui tnadKs. 

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378 The Piracy at Rome 

then does He give? I will tell you. These words of Christ 
are nothing but gracious promises, given to the whole 
Church,^ as was said above,* in order that poor sinful 
consciences may find comfort when they are "loosed" or 
absolved by man; and the words apply only to sinful, 
timid, troubled consciences, and are intended to strengthoi 
them, if they but believe. When these comforting words 
of Christ, gjven for the benefit of aU poor consciences in the 
whole Church,' are thus made to strengthen and establish 
papal power, I will tell you of what it reminds me. 
A Pu- It reminds me of a rich, kind prince who threw opea his 
'^* treasure-house, and gave complete freedom to all the poor 
to come and take what they needed. Among the needy 
there came a rogue, who made use of the peimissioa aU by 
himself and allowed none to come in who did not bow 
completely to his will, and arbitrarily eiplained the words 
of the prince to mean that the permission was given to 
him alone. Can you imagine what the kind prince would 
think of this rogue? If you cannot im^jne it, hear what 
Mut. ' St. Matthew says of that selfsame servant: "If that evil 
**'-*"^- servant shall say in his heart. My lord delayeth his coming, 
and shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and 
drink with the dnmken; the lord of that servant shall come 
in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that 
he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint 
him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth." 

And now see: in the same manner as this servant inter- 
prets the intention of his lord, so the R<Hnanists interpret 
the words of God, and this is the very best that can be 
said of thdr interpretation. For when they go stark mad, 
they act as if -yon servant had not only made barter of his 
lord's kindness for his own profit, but as if he actually 
changed the goods, and gave chaff and stubble for com, 
copper for gold, lead for silver, and poison for wine. And 

» See [Mce 373. 

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An Answer to ttw Celebrated Romai^ at Le^tzig 379 

therefore it is still a matter of grace, that they claim the 
keys for the pope at least in such a manner that we may buy 
them by giving money and everything that we possess. 
But it is an utter calamity when they preach their laws, 
authority, bans, indulgences and tlie like, in place of the Gos- 
pel. That is what the Lord calls the smiting of the fellow 
servants by the evil servant, who should rather feed them. 

I will use a plain illustration, so that any one may see H«rod 
the difference between the true and the false inteipreta- ^^V- 
tion of these words of Christ. The high-priest of the Old !«■ 
Testament wore, by divine appointment, an official robe. 
When King Herod elevated himself over the people of 
Israel, he took that robe, and although he did not use it 
himself, yet he usurped the authority to regulate its use, 
and the people were forced to pay for that to which God 
had given them the right The same is true now. The 
keys have been given to the whole Church' as has been 
proved above.* But along come the Romanists, and 
although they never use them themselves nor exercise 
their office, yet they take to themselves authority over 
the use of the keys, and we are forced to buy with money 
what is in reali^ our own, given by Christ. And, not 
satisfied with this, they apply the words of Christ concern* 
ing the keys, not to the keys nor to their use, but to their 
usiuped power and authority over the keys, so that the 
power of the keys, freely given by Christ, is now captive 
in the hands of the Romanists; and both the power of the 
keys and the power over the keys are supposed to come 
from the one word of Christ, just as if Herod had said that 
it was his power of which Moses was speaking, when he 
spake of the robe of the high-priest. 

In like manner, a tyrant could obtain possession of a 
last testament, and explain the words, wherein the property 
is bequeathed to the heit, to mean that authority is given 
him over this testament, to decide whether he will allow 


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jSo Hw Papacy at Rome 

its provi^ons to come to the heir gratuitously or for a price. 
So it is also with the power of the keys and the authority 
of the pope, understood as coming from one and the same 
word [of Soipture], whereas the two things are not only 
different, but the authorify claimed is more than the power 
of the k^ ; and yet they make of it one and the same thing. 
What to Their argument, that the external authority of the pope 
^*^J is conferred in the words of Christ, "On this rock I will 
Sock build My Church," understanding the rock to mean St. 
**»"• Peter and his authority, I have refuted many times,' and 
now I will say only (bis: First, they must prove that the 
rock means authority. They will not do this, nor can 
they do it, so they just pve voice to their own inven- 
tions, and all their drivel must be divine onnmand. 
Secondly, the rock can mean neither St. Peter nor his 
authority, on account of the words of Christ which follow, 
"And the gates of bell %ball not prevail against it." Now 
it is clear as day that no one is edified in the Church, 
nor withstands the gates of hdl by the mere fact that 
he is under the external authority of the pope. For the 
majority of those who hold so stron^y to the authority 
of the pope, and lean upon it, are themselves possessed by 
the powers of hell and are full of sins and rascality. Then, 
too, some of the popes were heretics themselves, and gave 
heretical laws; yet they remained in authority. Therefore, 
the rock does not signify authority, which can never with- 
stand the gates of hell; but it signifies only Christ and the 
Pinau- faith in Hhn, against which no power can ever prevail. 
AgiUiut That this authority continues to exist de^ite those who 
^" battle against it, does not mean that it has withstood 
Hen the gates of hell. For so the Greek Church has continued, 
and all the other Christians in the world; the Moscovites' 

'SwapedtUyUieR«solutIoaft« tuiiei Fiopositioae XIII. 

■Lc, The Roidaiu, who were tn eoctetiullal leltowthip «CUi the Ottbodoi 
Greek Chnrch. The iiietn>[MdiUii ice of Hoecow repc twn tol the <^)podtleii to 
union with Rome, which hiid been propoetd ic 1430; the aeoMtd uetrapefitu 
we of Russia, that of Elef. wai until 1519 (avorahle to tbe vnioB. See A. Pal- 
UBM and W. J. SmPMAN, In The Catholic Encrclopedla. X,5«4B: 
Xm. 155 1., and AocNXT, Greek and Eaitern Chnrchei.iSsf. 


Au Answer to the Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 381 

and Bohemians continue, yea, the kingdom of Persia has 
continued for more than two thousand years, and the Turk 
for well nigh a thousand years, in spite of various and 
repeated attacks against them. And to tell you some more 
things that really should bring astonishment to such an 
illustrious Romanist: The world in its wickedness has stood 
from the beginning, and shall stand until the Last Day, 
and forever, even if God Himself with all holy men and 
angels never cease to preach, write and work against it. 
If you think good of it, my dear Romanist, defy God and 
all the angels, because the world has stood even against 
all their words and work. Why did you not ascertain, you 
poor, blind Romanist, before rushing into print, what it 
means "to prevail against the gates of hell"? If every 
prevailing means just as much as prevailing against the 
gates of hell, then the devil's kingdom prevails with a 
larger following than God's kingdom. This is what it 
means to prevail against the gates of hell : Not to be in an 
external communion,* authority, jurisdiction or assembly 
in a bodily manner, according to your way of babbling 
about the Roman conmiunion* and its unity, but by a firm 
and true faith to be built upon Christ, the Rock which can 
never be suppressed by any power of the devil, even if he 
counts more followers and uses uncea^g strife, cunning, 
and violence against it. 

Now the greater part of the Roman communion,* and ^^"J* 
even some of the popes themselves, have forsaken the faith Kobu 
wantonly and wiUiout struggle, and live under the power j^***- 
of Satan, as is plainly to be seen, and thus the papacy 
often has been under the dominion of the gates of hell. 
And should X speak quite openly, this same Roman author- 
ity, ever ance the time it has presumed to soar over all 
Christendom, not only has never attained its purpose, but 
has become the cause of nearly all the apostasy, heresy, 
discord, sects, unbelief and misery in Christendom, and has 

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383 The Flpaey at Rome 

never freed itself from the gates of hell. And if there 

were no other passage to prove that Roman authority 

was of human and not of divine right, this passage alone 

J, would be sufficient, where Christ says, the gates of hell shall 

i6:i8 not prevail against His building on the rock. Now the 
gates of hell ofttimes had the papacy in their power, at 
times the pope was not a pious man, and the office was 
occupied by a man without faith, without grace, without 
good works; which God would never have permitted if the 
papacy were meant in Christ's word concerning the rock. 
For then He would not be true to His promise, nor fulfil 
His own word; therefore the rock, and the building of Christ 
founded upon it, must be something entirely different from 
the papacy and its external Churdi. 

Accordingly I say further, that the Roman bishop has 
often been deposed or appointed by other bishops. If, 
however, his authority were by divine appointment and 
promise, jGod would never have permitted this to happen, 
for it would be against His word and promise. And if God 
were found to be unfaithful in so much as even one word, 
then would perish faith, truth, the Scriptures, and God 
Himself. But if God's words stand firm, then my adver- 
saries must prove to me that the pope was never subject, 
even once, to Satan or to man. I would much like to hear 
I Sua. just what my good Romanists have to say to this. I trust 

"'^* they are slahi with their own sword, like Goliath. For I 
can prove that the papacy has been subject not only to 
Satan, but to other bishops, yea, also to temporal powers, 
to the emperors. How did the rock prevail then against 
the gates of hell? I will leave the choice to them: either 
these words mean defeat for the papacy, or God is a liar. 
Let us see which they will choose. 

Nor is it enough that you try to squirm out of the di- 
lemma by saying that even if the papacy has been imder 
Satan now and then, yet there have always been pious 
Christians under it. I reply: Under the rule of the Turk 
there are Christians, and likewise there are Christians in all 

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An Ansver to the Celebrated Romanist at Leipzig 383 

the vorld, as there were aforetime under Nero and other 
tyrants. How does that help you? The p^acy and the 
pope himself must at no time have been under Satan if 
Christ's word refers to them when He speaks of "a rock 
set against the gates of hell." See, thus do the Romanists 
interpret the Scriptures in accordance with their mad folly. 
Faith th^ turn into authority, spiritual edification into 
outward diow, and yet they are not heretics — they make all 
others to be the heretics. Such are the Romanists. 

Another passage which they dte in support of their con- 
tention is that in which the Lord says three times to Peter, 
"Feed My sheep." Here they reach real eminence as theo- John 
logians when they say: Since Christ said to Peter in parti- "■" 
cular, "Feed My sheep," He thereby conferred on him 
authority above all oUiers. 

Now we shall see to what labor and pains they are put Feedinc 
to bring about that result. In the first place, we must know shUp 
what they mean by "feeding." "Feeding," in the Roman ud bo- 
sense, means to bimlen Christendom with many human and SmI^ 
hurtful lait^, to sell the bishoprics at the hig^t possible 
price, to extract the annates' from all benefices, to usurp 
authority over all foimdations, to force into servitude all 
the bishops with terrible oaths, to sell indulgences, to rob 
the whole world by means of letters, bulls, seals and wax, 
to prohibit the preaching of the Gospel, to appoint knaves 
from Rome to ^ the places, to bring all litigation to Rome, 
to increase quarrels and disputes — ^in short, to allow no 
one to come freely to the truUi and to have peace. 

> Anoatei (■Dn4tae, ■□Dklla), origiDiUy the Inanne which > buhop re- 
cdved fnan the vuani beoeGccs in his dkiceu, usiully unounticig to ■ year's in- 
come of the benefice. By a decree of John xxn, 1317 (Eitrav.Jn. XXII, 
Lib. I , c . 1), the annates are fixed at one-half of one year's income of the benefice 
reckoned 00 the baas of the tithes, and payable on the accessioD of the oeir hi- 
cumbent. Two yon later (ijiq) the same Pope set an important precedent by 

ytanffitrav. Comm. 3, 2, c. 11). The right to receive annates sub- 
lequently became a resuhu claim of the popes. The term was extended after 
14 1 8 to include, bedde the annates proper, the soolled servil ia, payments 
Bade to the curia by bishop* and abbots at the time of their acceuira. Luther 
discusaes the lubject at greater length in the Addrea* to the Chiia- 
tlao Nobility. (See Vol. n.) 

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384 Th« P^iac; at Rraie 

Bat if they say that by "feeding" they do not under- 
stand such abuse of authority, but the authority itself, it 
is dmply not true. And I prove it in this wise: Where 
one protests very mildly against such abuse, and vitb all 
deference to the authority, they rail and threats thunder 
and lightning, they clamor that it is heresy and high 
treason, that it is a rending of the seamless garment of 
Oirist, and they would bum up the heretics, rd>els, spos- 
tates and everybody in the whole world. By all of which 
it is clear that they hold "feeding" to mean naught else 
but such preying and flaying. In the meanwhile, however, 
we think that feeding does not mean preying on others. 
Let us endeavor to see what it means. 
DiatiM- Tliey have a high-sounding, keen and subtile qieech — 
p^^ as they ima^e — when they say that person and office are 
•Bd not one and the same, and that the office remains, and 
'* remains good, though the person be eviL From this they 
conclude, and it must, indeed, follow, that the word of 
Christ, "Feed My sheep," means an office of external power, 
which even an evil man may have, for the office makes no 
one holy. Very well. This is acc^table to us, and we will 
ask the Romanists a question. Whoever keeps and fulfils 
the word of Christ, he is truly obedient and pious, and shall 
John 6:63 be saved, for His words are ^irit and life. If, therefore, 
"feeding" means to ^t in the highest place and to have an 
office — even if the incumbent be a knave — it foUows 
that he feeds who sits in the highest seat and is pope; 
and whoever does this work of feeding is obedient to 
Christ; and whoever is obedient in one particular is 
obedient in all and is a saint Therefore it must be 
true that whoever is pope and sits in the chief room is 
obedient to Christ and is a saint, though he be a knave, 
or a rogue, or what not. Have thanks, my dearest Ro- 
manists I Now I know, for the first time, why the pope 
is addressed as "your holiness." Thus must the word of 
Christ be e^)lained, so that knaves and rogues are made 
out to be holy and obedient servants of Christ, just as 

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An Answer to the Celebnted Rmnanist at Leipzig 385 

in the previous pi^^ you have made Christ an arch-knave 
and a brothel-keeper.' 

Further, if "feeding" means to sit in the highest place, J^ 
then "being fed" must mean to be subject, so that just as in tke 
"feeding" means external governing, "being fed" must ???^ 
mean to be governed, and, as they say, to live in the Roman 
fellowship.* Then it must also be further true that all 
who are within the Roman fellowship,* be they good or evil, 
are saints, because they are obedient to Christ and are 
being fed. For none can be ^bedient to Christ in one 
thing, without being obedient m all, as St. James says. Ju. 1:10 
Now is that not a fine Church imder tht Roman authority, 
where there are no sinners at all and naught but saints I 
But what becomes of the poor indulgence, if no one needs 
it any more in the Roman fellowship?* What becomes of 
the father confessor? How shall the world be robbed, if 
penance disappears? Nay, what becomes of the keys if 
they are no longer needed? But if there are still dnners 
among them, they must go unfed and be disobedient to 

What do you say to this, my good Romanists? Come 
now and pipe your lay. Do you not see that "feeding" 
must mean something else than having authority, and 
"being fed" something else than being externally subject 
to the Roman power, and how utterly senseless it is to 
dte the saying of Christ, "Feed My sheep," in order to 
strengthen Roman authority and its external unify or 

Christ also says, "He that loveth Me, keepeth My word; Fwdint 
he that loveth Me not, keepeth not My words." Prick !(,,{„, 
up your ears at this, my dear Romanists. Ye boast that joim 
the word of Christ, "Feed My sheep," is a command and '*-'^ 
word of Christ. ]>t us ask, then, where are they who keep 
it? You say, even the knaves and rogues keep it. Christ 

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386 Th« Papa^ at Rome 

says no one ke^>eth it, except he love and be a righteous 
man. Now come to some agreement with Christ in this 
matter, so that we may know if you or He is to be charged 
with lying. Therefore, the pope who loves not, and is not 
righteous, does not "feed the sheep," and does not keep 
Christ's word: neither is he a pope, nor has he authority, 
nor anything at all that is induded in the term "feeding 
the sheep." For Christ stands immovable, and says, "He 
that loveth Me not, keepeth not My word"; nor does such 
a one perform any "feeding of sheep," i. e., he is no pope at 
all, as they explain it. Thus it comes that the same pass- 
ages which are dted in its favor are against the papacy; 
a just retribution for those who treat the holy W(wd of 
God in sheer madness, as though it were fool's talk, and who 
would make out of it what they please. 

Perhaps you might reply, that a subject can be obedient 
to temporal authority even if that authority were not 
rig^teQus; why should one not be obedient to the pope's 
authority? TTierefore to "feed," or to "be fed," must not 
necessarily indude the idea of obedience. Answer: The 
Scriptures do not call temporal authority "feeding," and 
in ^e New Testament there is no instance where God 
publidy app<nnted any one to temporal power, although 
no sudi power arises without BGs secret ordering. For 
I P^ this reason St. Peter calls such powers "ordinances of men," 
'■'' because they rule not by God's word, but by God's gov- 
ernance, and it is not needful, therefore, that such rulers 
should be righteous. But inasmuch as we here have God's 
word, "Feed my sheep," neither the shepherd nor the sheep 
can fulfil this word except by obedience to God and righteous- 
ness of life. Therefore I let bishop, p<^, priest be what 
they may; unless they love Christ and are righteous, this 
term, "feeding," is not for them, and they are something 
entirely different from the sh^herds and feeders of sheq> 
who alone are meant in this word. For this reason it can- 
not be tolerated that this word of Christ shall be made to 
cover external power, which has nothing to do with obedi- 

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An Answer to the Cdebnited Romanist at Leipzig 387 

ence or disobedience to Him; "feeding" can mean naught 
else but to be obedient. 

And this is what Christ de^red. For before saying 
three times to Peter: "Feed My sheep," He asked him Jobs 
thrice if he loved Him, and Peter thrice answered "'*^''- 
that he loved Him. It is evident, therefore, that there 
is no "feeding" where there is no love. Therefore, the 
papacy either must be love, or it cannot be a feeding 
of the sheep, and if the word "Feed My sheep" establishes 
the papal chau-, it follows that all are popes who love Christ 
and feed the sheep. And this is perfectly true: for afore- 
time all bishops were called popes, wluch title is now 
restricted to the one at Rome. 

But here look you what our Romanists do when they a im*> 
cannot overcome these words of Christ, and must admit, STiSJi 
thou^ with great reluctance, that no one can feed except 
he love Christ, as the clearly expressed words of Christ 
declare. Gladly they would give Him the lie, or deny 
Him; but now that they are hit squarely between the eyes, 
so that their heads swim, hear what they say. They say 
that Christ indeed demands love in the office of the pope, 
but not that high love, which, they say, is meritorious 
unto eternal life; but the ordinary love is quite sufficient, 
such as a servant has toward bis master.* Now see, 
this lying explanation* of love they bring forth entirety 
out of their own heads, without warrant of the Scriptures, 
and yet they would have it appear that they are dealing 
with me in the Scriptures. Tell me, my dear Romanists, 
all of you melted together into one heap, where is there so 
much as one letter in the Scriptures concerning this love 
of which you dream? If your vile brew of Leipzig* could 
speak, it would easily overcome such feather-brains, and 
speak better than you do of love. 

But let us follow this matter further. If there must 

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388 The Papacy at Rome 

needs be somt sort of love in the papacy, what becomes 
of it when a pope does not tove Chiist at all, and seeks 
in it only his own gain and honor? And there have been 
many such, yea, ahnost all since the beginning of the 
papacy. You have not escaped me yet — ^you must confess 
that die papacy has not always existed, it has often per- 
ished, because it was ofttimes without love. But if it had 
been established by divine right, in th e se words of Christ, 
it would not have perished. Twist and turn as you will, 
these words will not yield a papacy; or else the papacy 
must cease in Christendom whenever the pope is without 
love. Now you have said yourself that the person may 
be evil, but Uie office remains; again you admit, and must 
admit, that the office is nothing if the person be evil — 
or you must let "feeding the sheep" be something else 
thuk the papacy. And this is true; let us see what you 
can bring against it. 

But let every one beware of the poisoned tongues and 
devil-glosses which can invent a love of such description. 
Christ speaks of the highest, strongest, best love of which 
man is capable. He will not be loved with a false, divided 
love; here there must be whole-hearted and pure love, or 
none at all. And the meaning of Christ is that in SL 
Peter's person He is instructing all preachers how they 
must be equipped; as if He would say: "See, Peter, if you 
shall preadi My word, and thereby feed My sheep, there 
shall rise gainst you the powers of hell, devil, world, and 
all that therein is, and you must be willing to venture body, 
life, goods, honor, friends, and everything which you have; 
and this you will not do if you do not love Me and cleave 
close to Me. And if you should begin to preach, and the 
sheep were being fed in the pastures, and the wolves would 
break in, and you would then flee as a hireling, and not 
' venture your life, but leave the sheep without care, to the 
wolves, it woidd have been better that you had never b^un 
to preach and feed the sheep." For if he falls, who preaches 
the Word and should stand at the head, offence is given to 

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An Answer to the Celebrated Rrananlst at Leipzig 389 

every one, the Word of God is brought to deepest di^race, 
and more hann is done to the sheep than if they had no 
shepherd at all. Christ cares much for the feeding of the 
sheep; He cares nothing at all how many crowns tiie pope 
wears, and how in all his splendor he lifts himself far above 
the kings of the world. 

Let any one tell if he can, whether the papacy has such 
love, or if Christ, in these words, has instituted such a. 
worthless authority as the papai^ is. Without doubt he 
is triily a pope who preaches with such love; but where can 
such a one be found? There is no passage that gives me as 
much sorrow in my preaching as this one does — of love 
I feel not much, Of preaching I do more than enough. 
They accuse me of being rabid and revengeful; I fear that 
I have done too little. I should have pulled the wool' 
much harder for the ravening wolves, who never cease to 
rend the Scripture, to poison and pervert it to the great 
injury of the poor, fors^oi sheep of Christ. If I had only 
loved them enough I should have dealt quite differently 
with the pope and his Romanists, who with their laws and 
their prattle, their tetters of indulgoice, and the rest of 
theii foolery, bring to naught out faith and God's Word. 
They make for us what laws they will, only to capture us, 
and then sell them to us again for money;* with their 
mouths they weave snares for money, and yet boast that 
they are shepherds and keepers of sheep, whereas they are 
truly wolves, thieves, and murderers, as the Lord says in j^^^, 
John X. w:i 

I know right well that this Uttle word, "love," scares 
the pope and his Romanists and makes them weak and 
weary, nor are they willing that it should be pressed, for 
it overturns the whole pa^jacy. It made Dr. Eck weary 
at Leipzig;* and whom would it not make weary, since 

1 Tbr sbecps' dotUns In which they come. 

' A nftnnce to the sale ol di^teowtions, more fully discusud in the A d d r e • ■ 
t« the ChrtitiBD Nobility. 
* At the weU-koown dlqnitatiaD in the {Hcvioiu year. 

b, Google 

390 The P^a^ at Rome 

Christ directly commands Peter cot to feed the aheep 
except there be love? He must have love or there can be 
no "feeding." I shall wait a while now to see how they will 
parry this thrust. If they prick me with "feeding," I 
will prick them much harder with "loving," and we shall 
see who prevails. This is the reason why some of the 
popes in their Canon laws so neatly pass in ^ence this 
word "love," and make so much ado about "feeding," think- 
ing that thereby they have preached only to drunken 
Germans, who will not notice how the hot porridge bums 
their tongue. This is the reason, too, why the pope and the 
Romanists cannot bear any questioning and investigating 
of the foundation of papal power, and every one is accused 
of doing a scandalous, presumptuous and heretical thing, 
who is not satisfied with their mere assertions, but seeks 
for its real basis. But that one should ask if God is God, 
and seek in frivolous presumption to penetrate all His 
mysteries, they suffer with equanimity, and it does not 
concern them. Whence this perverted game? From this, 

« that, as Christ says, John iii, "He that doeth evil, feareth 
the light." Where is the thief or robber who courts in- 
vestigation? Thus the evil conscience cannot bear the 
light; but truth loveth the li^t, and is an enemy to dark- 

I ness, even as Christ says in the same chapter, "He that 
doeth truth, cometh to ibe lig^t." 

Now we see that the two sayings of Christ, qx>ken to 
Peter, on which they build the papacy, are stronger against 
the papacy than all others, and the Romanists can pro- 
duce notl^ng that does not make them a laughing-stock. 
I shall let the matter rest here, and pass by whatever else 
this miserable Romanist spues out in his book; since I have 
controverted it all many times before, and now also some 
others have effectually done so in Latin.' I find nothing 
in it, except that he soils the Holy Scriptures like a snivd- 

' Joba Lookxr in Contra romtotttan (ratreni, etc, ud Joha 
BcnhudiinConfutatio Inepti et impli 1 i b • 1 U , etc.; both RffiM 
lo AhrcW'i Udn tnUite which vpearad iboctly bdwe thii tnMlM of Ltttbv**. 


An Answer to the Celebrated Ronumlst at Le^zig 391 

ing child; in no place does he show a mastery of his words 
or an understanding of his subject. 

On the subject of the papacy I have come to this con- n* 
elusion: Since we observe that the pope has full authority ^^^ 
over all our bishops, and has not attained it apart from oi th« 
the providence of God — although I do not believe that it ""*"■ 
is a gracious, but rather a wrathful providence which 
permits men, as a plague on the world, to exalt themselves 
and oppress others — therefore I do not desire that any one , , 
should resist the pope, but rather bow to the providence of 
God, hoaor this auUiority, and endure it with all patience, 
just as if the Turk ruled over us; in this wise it yrih do no 

I contend for but two things. First: I will not suffer 
any man to establish new articles of faith, and to abuse all 
other Christians in the world, and slander and brand them 
as heretics, apostates and unbelievers, sunply because they 
are not under the pope. It is enough that we let the pope 
be pope, and it is not needful that, for bis sake, God and His 
saints on earth should be blasphemed. Second: All that 
the pope decrees and does I will receive, on this condition, 
that I first test it by the Holy Scriptures. He must 
remain under Christ, and submit to be judged by the Holy 

But these Roman knaves come along, place him above 
Christ, and make him a judge over the Scriptures; they say 
that he cannot err, and whatever is dreamed at Rome, nay, 
everything which they dare to come out with, they would 
prescribe for us as articles of faith. And as if that were 
not enough, they would introduce a new kind of faith, so 
that we are to believe what we can see with our bodily 
eyes; whereas faith, by its very nature, is of the things 
whidi no one sees or feels, as St. Paul says in Hebrews xi. Rd>. u:: 
Now the Roman authority and fellowship' is a bodily thing, 
and can be seen by any one. If the pope came to that — 

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39» TlM Papacy at Rome 

which may God forbid! — ^I would say right out that he is 
the real Antichrist, of whom all the Scriptures speak. 

If they grant me these two things, I will let the pope 
renjain, nay, help to exalt him as hi^ as they please; 
if not, he sliall be to me neither pope nor Christian. He 
that must do it may make an idol of him ; I will not worship 

MoreovN, I would be truly glad if kings, i»inces, and all 
the nobles would take hold, and turn the knaves from 
Rome out of the country, and keep the appointments to 
bishoprics and benefices out of their hands. How has 
Roman avarice come to usuip all the foundations, bisht^ 
rics and benefices of our fathers? Who has ever read or 
heard of such monstrous robbery? Do we not also have 
the people who need them, while out of our poverty we 
must enrich the ass-drivers and stable-boys, nay, the 
harlots and knaves at Rome, who look upon us as 
nothing else but arrant fools, and make us the objects 
of their vile mockery? 

It is a notorious fact that the Russians desired to come into 
the Roman fellowship, but then the holy shepherds of 
Rome "fed" those sheep of Christ in such a manner that 
they would not receive them imless they first bound them- 
selves to a perpetual tax of I know not how many hundred 
thousands of ducats. Such "food" they would not eat, 
and so they remain as they are, saying, if they must buy 
Christ, they would rather save their money until they come 
to Christ Himself, in heaven. Thus thou doest, thou scarlet 
Rev. 17:4 whore of Babylon, as St. John calls thee — makest of our 
faith a mockery for all the world, and yet wouldest have 
the name of making every one a Oiristiaa. 

Oh the pity, that kings and princes have so little rever- 
ence for Christ, and His honor concerns them so little 
that they allow such heinous abominations to gain the 
upper hand, and look on, wiiile at Rome they think of 
nothing but to continue in their madness and to increase 
the abounding misery, until no hope is left on earth except 

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An Answer to tha Celebrated Romanist at Le^izig 393 

in the temporal authorities. Of tliis I will say more anon,^ 
if this Romanist comes again; let this suffice for a begin- 
ning. May God help us at length to open our eyes. 

As for the slanders and evil names with which my person 
is assailed, although munerous enough, I will let my dear 
Romanist off without reply. They do not trouble me. It 
has never been my intention to avenge myself on those who 
rail at my person, my life, my work, my doings. That I 
am not worthy of praise, I myself know full well. But I 
will let no man reproach me that in defending the Scrip- 
tures I am more pointed and impetuous than some seem to 
like, neither will I be silenced. Whoever will, let him 
freely scold, slander, condemn my person and my life; 
it is already forgiven him. But let no one expect from me 
either grace or patience who would make my Lord Christ, 
Whom I preach, and the Holy Ghost, to be liars. I am 
nothing at all, but for the Word of Christ I give answer 
with joyful heart and vigorous courage, and without respect 
of persons. To this end God has given me a glad and fear- 
less spirit, which they shall not embitter, I trust, not in 
all eternity. 

That I have mentioned Leipzig, no one should consider 
an affront to the honorable dty and University. I was 
forced to it by the vaunted, arrogant, fictitious title of 
this Romanist, who boasts that he is a public teacher of ail 
the Holy Scriptures at Leipzig,* which tiUes have never 
before been used in Christendom, and by his dedication* to 
the dty and its Coundl. If the jackanapes had not issued 
his book in German, in order to poison the defenceless laity, 
he would have hexax too small for me to bother with. For 
this clumsy ass cannot yet sing his hee-haw, and quite 

' A inn^ fulfilled ioIiiB Addri 
■ In the title of his Lstiii tieatiie. 
* Of the Gomu tnadw. 

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394 ^^ Papacy at Rome 

uncalled, he meddles in things which the Roman chair itsdf , 
together with all the bishops and scholars, has not been 
able to establish in a thousand years. 

X should have thought, too, that Leipzig ought to have 
been too precious in his eyes, for him to smear his drivd 
and snivel on so honorable and famous a dty; but in 
his own imagination he is no ordinary man. I perceive that 
if I permit the petulance of all these thick-heads, even the 
bath-maids will finally write against me. 

But I pray that whoever would come at me arm himself 
with the Soiptures. What helpeth it, that a poor frog 
pufieth himself up? Even if he should burst, he is no ox. 

I would gladly be out of this business, and they force 
themselves into it. May God grant both of us our prayers, 
— help me out of it, and let them stick in it Amen. 

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b, Google 

b, Google 


Aaron, 364ff- 

Ajioa'i bms^lAte, k type, 370 

Abnhun, 41, 398, 301 

AbTaham'B bosom, 198 

Abiolution, 18, 30, 6s, 310 

AbuMa, in the Mass, 305 

Achatius, 106 

Adam, 198, 365 

AddKss to the Chiistlu Nobili^, 

sai, 383, 389, 393 
Adcdf of Mersebog, 33a 
Advosity, blcsHDgs at, 161 

the greatest, 113!. 
Aegidius, St., 106 
Agatha, St., 163 
Agricota, 176 

Albiecbt o( UtJns, 15, at, 13, 15 
Altar-doths, 31a 
Alveld, 330, 337, 344f., 36B, 372, 374, 

377, 387. 390, 393 
Ambrose, a8i 
Aiiab^>tist, 54 
Annates, 3S3 
Anthony, St., 100 
Anticbiist, 9, it, 311, 343, 391 
AntQogiitae, 109 
Apdogy, 79 
Apostate, 340, 391 
Apostle. 359 
Apostles, 8, 370, 374 
Aristotle, 46 
Articles of faith, 391 
Assurance of salvation, 34 
Attrition, 3o 
Augabnig Confesdm, 78 

Diet of, 334 

Augustine, 9, 11, 55, 6>, 90, 92, 133, 
isaff., 162, 195, »)9, 375. 19>> 3i9> 
364, 3» 

Augustine's Confesdons, 85, 145, 
tsa, 337 

Auiiliatores, 106 

Ave Maria, 336 

Aven amal, 193 

Babylon, king of, 373 
Babylonian captivity, 32i 
Baptism, 51, 56ff., 98, 138, 395, 3o8f., 
3»9. 3»i. 361 

three parts of, 56 

the sign of, 56 

a flood of grace, 59 

a covenant, 60 

and penance, 65 

significance of, 56f., 59 

nufcea guiltless, te 

cDinlbrt of, 6if. 

almys to be remembered, 70 

false confidence in, 71 
Baptismal collect, 53 

vows, S3 
Barbara, St., 106, 337 
Baibara's, St., Day, >44 

Edgars, 281, 311 
Benedicite, 310 

Benevolcsce, 378, 380 
Bernard of Clairvaux, 107, ai6 
Bemtuudi, John, 390 
Bettholdt, 354 
Bible, TranslatioD of, 7 

by Google 

398 In 

Bishop, qualificatiMU of, 6cf., 115, 

Bishops an equal, $sgt. 
Blaans, St, 106 

within us, 141 

before us, 146 

behind us, 151 

beneath us, 156 

en left hand, 160 

on ri^t hand, 164 

above us, 16S 
B<diemians, 340, 359, 381 
b<Mi Ouistian, 341 
Boniface Vm., iS 
Books, heathen, ate daagerout, >a8 
Both kinds, communion io, 393, 311 
Brandenburg, Bishop of, 15, 11 
Breviaiy, 336 
Bridget, St., igi 

Cajetak, 331, 338 
Canon of the Mass, gs 

Law, 30, aSs, aijs. 3SS. S^, 390 
CancHiical Hours, 93 
Canonisation, 156 
Caitbusiuu, 170 
Castigation, 343 
Casuistry, 87 
Catherine, St., 106 
Cedlift, St., 254 

Ceremonies, 187, 191, 196, 198, 100 

one instituted by Christ, 115 
Charily, MI 
Charles V., 105 
Chasti^, 69, 175 

vows of, »f . 
Children, mining of, ssif., 354 
Chimera, 163 
Christ, ow example, 13a, 183 

our greatest bleaung, 16S 

our Priest, 314, 367 

illJiteounieM ot, 170 

Christ, the Rock, 104, 376, 3641 381 
Christenhdt, 339 
Christian, the nsme, 351 

Church menbenh^ dots not 
make, 351 

lordof an, 170 
Christcphei', St., 106, 337 
Church, 84, 164, 3'3. 330. 3«. 378 

authoity ot, 357 

cnnqrtion of, 337 

House of Ptsyei, 134 

s^tual mother, 157 

woridliuess ot, 358S. 

not bound to Rome, 350 

a spiritual community, 353 

three uses of the tcnn, 3Ss[. 

marks of, 361 

Cletsy, i4t 
Collects, 3ro 
(Cologne, 333, 338 
Commandments, Ten, 137 

Flnt, 194^', loj, 338 

Second, 3045. 

Third, 3iif., 348 

First tliree, I48f., 359, 361 

Fourth, 35°^' 

First four, 371 

Fifth, 373S. 

^th, 3758' 

Seventh, 378ff. 

Bghth, 38iff. 

Ninth sjid Tenth, 385 

of God, 40, 187, 34if. 

a guide in confessloB, 91L 
in prayer, 131 

of the Church, 345 
Comment, 387 
Commissaries, 34, 36 
Ounmunim without confessioa. 95 

of saints, 139, r34, rfisf., 31a 
COnunnnity, govonment of, 345f-i 

CompoetelU, 98, 191, 337, 339 

by Google 

Omtttdon, i8, sq. 41, 76B. 

Somui CctboUc concepdai of, 

I.nthenii ccnaptiiin of, 77 

why we codIcss, 81 


when not to nuke, 84 

jnatifiM, 136 

of sin, 134 

SMTsmeot, 91 
Confessiraulia, 17, 33 
Cmileuioiul Lettos, 13 
CoDsdence, go, iSS, 193 

troubled, 117, 131, 308, 335 

evil, 3go 
Coiuideratciuss, 170 
CoDstitntiiHu, loi 
CoQtrltioo, iS, 17, 31, 33, 77 
Cotponl, 31a 

Coundls, jL, V. G«nenl Couodb. 
CouTtnus, 361 
Covetoumeas, aSo 
Crankch, 53, 107 
Cianmer, 5a 
Cteed, 66, 166, 186, 361 
Cioaa of Christ, 36, 38, 56, 144 
Ciq>, why withheld, 311 
CuTM, a fount of bleuiitg, 138 
Cuatom, value of, 317 
Cypriacns, St., 106 
CyiMiMi, 90, 131, 3as 

Daioikd, the, 156 

David, 116, agS 

D>y aod ni^t, 349 

Deai and dumb, Mus for, 395 

Death, sSff., 69, ito, ii6f. 

a blearing, 6a, 147!., 285 

bitterness of, due to «n, 66 

a doOT to life, 138 

a penance and wtisfactioa, 150 

I)ecKbU>> 45i B9> 91'- > 99 

Defensoiet, loj, iia 

Dieteoberger, John, 178 
Dionysus, lao 
DicMiyuus, St., 106 
Diseases, number known, 119 
Disb<NKSty, 178 
Disobedience, 950 
Diqiensation from vows, 99 
Di^Hitatira, 15 
Doctors, jt. 

EasixbDay, 311 

Eck, 10, 176, 3*9. 33a. 338, 369. 389 

Elevation of the host, 30a, 310 

ST. 33a, 338, 363. 369 
Endowments, 37 
Enemies, duties toward, 373, aSi 
Efucuieana, 10 
Eiasmua, Disider, 197, 331 
Eiasmus, St., 106 

tes, why instituted, 67, 69f. 
Esther, Queen, 154 
Eternal punishment, laj 
Eucharistia, »4 
Eustachiua, St., 106 
EvOs, within us, tt; 

nevei fuUy known, 115 

before us, 119 

behind us, 113 

beneath us, 116 

on our left hand, 139 

on our ri^t hand, 133 

above us, 137 

to be loved, 140 
Ezcommuiucation, 97 
Exodus, a type, 364 
Extreme Unction, 309 

FAira, 16, 81, 83, 169, 957, 968, 974, 
977, 380, 984, 991, 300, 303, 
307. 3»*, 3162.. 394, 344. 369, 
the hi^iest good wotk, 187 


F^th I 

a works good, i88, 196, 

the test of good woAs, i8q 
makes all works equal, 190 
in the Mass, aisf., tgi 
true priestly office, 316 
stages of, i9if. 

work of the First Command- 
ment, 194, »4* 
includes all good works, 19S 
and daily ^o, aoj 

and prayer, aid. 

infirmity of, 32S 

baptismal, 54, 63 
Fasting, 67, 94, i4jf., i75f. 
Fathera, Church, 7, 163, 374 

Feeding, meaning of, iSjt. 

Feiertag, iii 

Fides, Informis, fotmata, lofixinata, 

Flattery, 38» 
Flesh, the, 244f . 
Flood, a type of baptism, 58 
Forgiveness of sin, 18, 66, Mi, 300 
Fourteen defenders, 106 
Frederick the Wise, 16, 47, 105, i09f., 

171, i77i '84 
Fuggeis, the, 21 

GelObde, 306 


General Coundls, 26if., 293 

George of Saxony, 17S, 368 

George the Martyr, 106 

German Books, 185 

Mass, 306 
Germans, characterised, 340, 343, 390 
Cerson, 79. 95. W 
Gideon, 301 
Glosses, 99, 34s 
Gluttony, 266 
God, Name, 3asS. 

God, pruM of, 30Sff. 
to have a god, 194 
wants OUT help, 319 
Goliath, 381 

a type of stn, 150 
Good name, danger of, 110 
need of, aio 
woits, 27, 33, 64, 67f., »7, 
209, 111, 143, 194, 3oBf., 
none pure, 63 

defined, 187 

bow rejected, 193 

how they difler, 104 


outline, t78ff. 

irop(»tance, i82ff. 
Goq>cl, 37, 35f., 183, 291, 311, 

Gottesdienst, 122 
Graces of pardon, 3] 
Gratia infuso, 36 
Greed, 27af., 323 
Greek Church, 396, 340, 380 
Gregory, 87, 157 
Guilt of sin, 19, 26, 19 

temisuoD <^, 97 
Gulden, an, 3i4>3o6 

BAHnrs, 190 
Head and lord, 362 

<rf ChristeiKlom, 357 
Heathen, 357 
Heaven, 31 

Heinse, Simon, 175 
HeU, 137 

fun of God, 157 
Heresy, 9s, 370, 384 
Haretfc, 4», 44. 45, 318, 340. 3Si. 399. 

3«. 37Sf-. 383. 3(H 
Herod, 136, 379 

by Google 

Highpriest, K type of Qirist, 364!., 

Histoty, value of, »65f. 
Holidays, 140 
UoUness &nd prayer, 233 

as tide of the pope, 3S4 
Holy Spirit, 36^. 
Home, a. Qiurdi, 355 
Honor as a motive to good worics, 

Hope, i46f. 

HudMnd and wife, duties ol, 169 
Hymns quoted, 133, 354 
Hypocrites, 39^., 356 

Idolatry, 195, 307 
Imitatio Christi, 108 
Immetsiim, sif., 56 
Indulgeoce Letters, 15, 313, 389 

Indulgences, i6fi., 26, 35, 38, 41, 46, 

TO, 383. 38s 
Inner man, 35 s 
Instruction to indulgence sellers, at, 

Intercesaon of the Church, 3s 
Israel, a type, 356 

Jahsmakxt, 197 

James, St., 98, 191, 337, 139, 356 

Jeduthuo, 4' 

Jerome, 5, 53, 8a, 351 

Jesus, Name of, 15 

Jews, 36s 

the three, 167 
Job, 87, 144, 37a 
Job's wife, 144 
John XXH., 383 
John of Saxony, 177. 184 
John B^tist, SL, Day of, 134 
Joseph's wagons, i68f. 
Jubflee Indulgence, 18, ai, 45 
Judas, ajo, 313 
Julius n., », 37t 

Justice of God, 157 

JustificatioD, S3, 66 

by faith, 178 

Keys of the Chuicb, 35, 373 

power of, 6s, 97 
Koestlin, 330 

Laitv, a95, 339 

Last Day, 140, 381 

Law of Mosea, abolished, 195 

Lawrence, St., 33 

Laws, 3a6 

and works, 394 

produce sects, a94f. 

purpose of, 1991. 
L^ends of sunts, 90 
L«pag, 337f-. 339. 387. 393 

DiqHitation at, 108, 339, 334, 
Leo X., ai, aj, 4a 

Letter to, 44-48 
Letters of pardoo, 33, v. Indulgence. 
Liberality, 380 

Liboty of a Christiao, 170, 301 
Life, a s(^tual bq>tiun, 57 

ttpentance, a9 

be ginnin g o| death, 58 
I^»>it». 331. 337. 390 
Lord's Day, 140 
Lord's Prayer, 319, 337, 343, 349 

SujqjeT, 389, V. Uass. 
Louvaine, 333, 338 
Love of God, 40 

required in a bishiv, 385ff., 389 
Low Mass, 311 
Luther's coarse language, 335 

inconsistency, ri 

indifference to slander, 393 

lack of love, 389 

love of peace, 43 

pride, 344 

submisdon to ptqw, 481 

xeal for Christ, 43, 4*^ 

by Google 

403 U 

Luther's zeal foe the p<^, lo 
writiiigs, lo, 75, gs, 175I., igj 
teU-absKmeiit, 15, iS, 47 
Mnae of duty, 15, 47 
master of theology, 46 
called a hentic, 189 

Lnxwy, 366 

Maimz, Boahopck, 349 
Malvoiiie, 361 
Uan, two iwtures, 353 
three puts of, 14S 

1, Payer of, 83, 1 
Muguet, Sl, 106 

Mass, !i33, 339, aSg, 395. 30S, 309. 
a memorial, 133 
not a good wort, 308 
not a sacrifice, 311 
fniiti of, 307 
anniveruiy, 37 
mortuaiy, 37 
requiem, 333 

c< the Hdy Cross, jai 

of our Lady, 333 

for the dead lo, 371 3i7i 3^3 
Masters, duties of, 369 
Matbesius, 107, 183 
Matthias, St., 374 
Meekness, ajt 

Hmits of, 974 
Mdssen, biahop of, 368 
Mdanchthon, 33, 79. t77i 183 
Men, four duMs of, mo 
Mersio, 56 
UDtite, 331 

Modus confitendi, 39 
Monastic houses, i77> 3itt 
Monica, St., 319 
Monla, 39s 
Monstrance, 311, 331 
Mortal m, 19, 85 

when to be oonfesaed, 8g 
Moscovltet, 340, 381 
Moses, 138, 384, 198, 369 
Mother of God, 36 

Naakah, III, 373 
New Testament, 399, 373 
Treatise on, sSgff. 
Year's Fitaoit, 373 
Noah, s8f., 398, 301 
NobUi^, German, 343 

Address to, 383, 389, 393 

Oaikb, 99 
Obedioice, 370^. 

to Cburdi, 357 

to masters, 3^8 

to parents, aji 

to state, 363 

Offering, !n the Mass, 309 
Offertory, 31a 
Offidales, 330,167 
Officiom, 309 
Old Tcstamtot, I99f. 
Opoi operatum, 54 


Oidcn, mraastlc, 34s 
Ori^naltin, 385 
Our Lady, 341, 356 
Outward man, 355 
Ovid, ISO 


Pantakoo, St., 106 
Papacy, cocnq>tiaQ of, sSiff. 

by Google 

Papacy, Luther's concluwon ra, 391 

TicBtise on, 339S. 
Papal bulls, 9B 

paidons, 36, v. Indulgence. 

power, 17, 30, 4», 44, 340. 361 
<A bumAn il^t, 375 
Parents, dudes of, 151S. 

toward, 35iff. 
Paschal, St, 31 
Paschal Lamb, 399!. 
Passkm of Christ, 117 
PaMOver, 41 
Pastor, 315 
Pater aoeter, 135 
Paul, Sl, 40, 311,374 

the Hennlt, 330 
Paul of Bourgos, 41 
peccata aliena, gi 
Penalty of sin, 19, 36, 39!., 35 

remis^n of, 97 
Penance, 17, 39, 53,65, 309. 377. 385 

mistaken, lod. 
Penitence, 40 

Penitential Canons, 17, 30, 37 
Persecution, 3S3 
Persia, 381 

Penon and office, 3771 384 
Persona] faith, 55 
Peter, St., 36, 3s8ff., 388 
Peter's, SL, at Rome, 11, 15, 34, 37 
Petros, Petra, 369, 373 
Pfennig, 31 r, 313 
Pharisee and Publican, 307 
Piaiiseta, 395, 338 
Pilgrimages, 98, 191, 197, 3o6, 356 
Plagues, 364 
Pledge of Baptism, 61 
denary indulgence, iSf. 
Pcenitentia, 39 
Pope, 9, 10, 30, 33f., 46, 3578- 

power over purgatory, 31 

poweisof, 312, 3S7 

the devil's vicar, 11 

lex 403 

Popes, some heretics, 380 
Power of the Church, 45, 47 

of the keys, 30, 31, 44, 46f., 65, 
37'5t-. 379 
Praise of men, to be avmded, 308 
Prayer, 33sf., 330, 376, 3t3 

as a good work, 3i>f. 

without ceasing, 339 

outward and inward, 319 

and holiness, 331 

common. 333t. 
power of, 33s 

House of, 334, 136 

in pul[Ht, 334 

thougbtlcM, 33s 

what is to be prayed for, 131 

for the dead, 318 


PrCftcbing, 68, 316, ant., 331 
Pieceptorium, Luther's, 93 
Prec^U of the Church, 84, 88 
Preparation for the qulss, 303, 334 
Preparatotia, 93 
"Prevail against the gates of bell," 

Prieri". 176, 331,338 
Priest, 341, 395 

vicar of God, 83 

arrogance of, S; 
Priestbood of believers, agi, 315, 

reforms suggested to, 366, 393 
Private confes^on, 79 
Princes, duties of, 365 
Promises of God, 397f. 
Prostitution, 367 
Protests ag^Dst Indulgencei, >3 
Proverbs quoted, 7, 119, 141!., 315, 

35t, 383, 343, 3S9 
Providence, 133, 153, 379 
Purgatory, 19, 13, 36, 31:^., 314, 318 
Purpose of better life, 85f . 

QcAsnoHZS, 186 

by Google 

RAsntmi, 361, 387 
Real PreseDce, 390 
Reason of man, periloas, Z43i 346, 

ReftwmatioD, 163 

Refonm, suggested to princes, 366 
Relica, 139 
Rent-charges, 366 
Repentance, ig 

Roman Catfaolk doctrine, 77 
Requiems, 300 
Reeeivatio culp<e, 79 

(XEoa., 79 
Reserved cases, 35, 79> 96t. 
ResolutioDea, 13, 39, 43 

super ptop. Xm., 3S0 
Rest, bodily, 141 

spiritual, 941 (. 
Reuchlin, 43 
Riches not nn, 164 
Rietschl, 53 
Right hand and left band, tit, t39, 


Righteous tnaa defined, 81 

Rock, a type of Chiist, 364f ■, 380 
does not sigiufy authority, 3S0 

Roman Qjurch, 196 
See, 374E- 

Rome, 360, aj6, 330, 383 

comqition in, 341, 381, 391 

Rosaiy, 136 

Rusaans, 396, 340, 393 

Sabbaib, 340 
Sacrament, 306, 30S, 36t 
Sacianient of the Altar, 166 
Saoamental tign, 53, 57, 306 

efficacy, 53 
Sacramentaiians, 390 
SaCTamenta, number d, 393, 311 
Saoifice, <4 the Haas, 3090. 

q>iritual, 313 
Sadducees, 395 

Sainta, 68, t33, 163 

wocshqi of, 133 

days, 341 
SanctificAtton, J3, 66 
Sanctua, 303, 143 
Sanftmttthigkdt, 171 
Sattsfaction, i7f., 39, 31, 4t[^ 53, 64, 
68, 70. 97, 437,318 

sacramental, 31, 77 
5ctq>tures, 361, 391 

estimate of, 7, 113 

Roman usage of, 367, 383 
Sebastian's, St., Day, 344 
Sects, 394f- 

Sentences, of Peter hombaid, 91 
Senno, 51 
SennOB, the, 134! 

V. Sacrament des Leichnams, 36S 
Serpent, a type <rf Christ, 364L 
Servants, duties of, 368 
SeveriDUs, 31, 94 

mother of ^ory, 13S 

motive to awud evil, 109 
Seal, the sacrament a, joiff. 
Sbeba, Queen of, 373 
Signs, given by God, 301 

of the sacnunent, 306 
Silence, when a sin, aiSf., 38* 
Sin, 76, 78, i49f-, 158, 333 

after baptisn, 59, 63 

daily, and faith, 30} 

distlnctiiHis of, go, gj 


mcMtal, 78, 88 

aecret, 86f., 97 

venial, 78, 88 

the nature of the body, 58 

the three armiea oi, 115 
Sinful bdinationa, do tiot cnndemn, 
are truly ain, 64 
Sinnlidikeit, 338 
Sixtui IV., 30 

by Google 

Solldtude, 170 

SolomoD, a type, 370 

Sorsttltigkeit, 370 

SpBlatin, 105, 107, III, 176, 193, 331 

Spenl^, Georg, 17s 

"Spiritual," 356 

autbori^, 157 
birth, 5S 

contrasted with tanporal, >6j 
when to be naisted, add. 

estate, 69, aio, »37, 354 

finny, 373 

wickedness, iigf- 
^tirittudes, 354 
Spiritualia, 356 
Stuquts, 33, 39 
Still Maw, 31 1 

o, .1, 66, IIS, 135, 141. 346 

sanctified by Christ, 13S 
second step of faitb, igi 
Sunday, 340 

Superstition in the Mast, 311 
^_Jylvester, v. Prierias. 

Tadtc, $6 

Temporalis, 356 

Temporal authori^, 163!., 386 

oontnsted with ^witual, 
Temptatioii, 304! . 

sent by God, 147 
Toence, 170 

Teasaradecas, losff., 176, 184 
Testament, defined, iqq, 306, 308 

o[ the Masa, 333, 39if., 300f. 

parts of, 301 
Tetzel, 31, 176 

Thanksgiving, in the Mass, 134 
Tbeaa, XCV., isS., 43. 46 

Uxtd, igff. 
Thief on the Ciosa, 136, 338 
Toigau, I OS, 107 
Tiansubstantiation, 391 

lex 405 

Treasure of the Church, 30, 35 
Trent, Decrees of, 79 
Trust, in God, gsf., i53f. 
Trwth loveth light, 390 

witnessing to, 383 
Tnithfuhiess, 381 

Turk, 338!., 163, 371, 340, 395, 3^> 

Romans the true Turks, 361 
Type and fulfilment, 363f . 

Unbeliei, i53f., 188 
Unity of the Church, 350 

Veot sancte Spiritus, 349 
Venial sin, 19, 78, 86, 90 
VeiUfirung etlichei Artikel, 3 
Vicar, the pope no, 358 
ViendmhdligenkiFcbe, to6 
Vitus, St, 106 
Votum saciamenti, 9S, 319 

tBtisfactimls, 98 
Vow, of baptism, 6S 
Vows, 53, 68, So, gSS., 199 

commutation of, 100 
ition of, 99 

Wahxheii sagen, aSt 
War, 36s 

Wcked, proqierity of, 160 
Wn of man, perilous, 343 
Wtness to truth, 383 
Wtteobefg, castle church, 13 
Woman, 141 

Word of God, 34, S4i 376, 3S3, 397f., 
307. 3"S, 3^. 344. 386 

the, 51, 113, 391 
Words of the Saotunent, josf. 

ol baptism, 306 
Works and faith, 197, 39B 
Worit-iigbteous saints, 314 

by Google 


Works of mercy, i lo 
Worldly, 3S6 
Wony, a79 
Wonhip, 131 
Wridnga of men, 7 
Wrong, to be misUd, J17 

Yomio, training of the, 10^. 

Zaizphath, widow of, 373 
ZwOlfbote, 359 

by Google 






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